due diligence


Definition of due diligence

1 law : the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property failed to exercise due diligence in trying to prevent the accident
2 business : research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction (such as a corporate merger or purchase of securities)

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Doing Your Due Diligence

Due diligence has been used since at least the mid-fifteenth century in the literal sense “requisite effort.” Centuries later, the phrase developed a legal meaning, namely, “the care that a reasonable person takes to avoid harm to other persons or their property”; in this sense, it is synonymous with another legal term, ordinary care. More recently, due diligence has extended its reach into business contexts, signifying the research a company performs before engaging in a financial transaction. This meaning may also apply to individuals: people are often advised to perform their due diligence before buying a house, signing a loan, or making any important purchase.

Examples of due diligence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After that loan is made, it would be subjected to another round of due diligence, this time by an investment bank that assembles 60 to 120 loans to form a CMBS. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, "Whistleblower: Wall Street Has Engaged in Widespread Manipulation of Mortgage Funds," 15 May 2020 Republicans maintain that Obama officials abused their political power to push a Russia investigation based on flimsy intelligence, while Democrats insist things were done above board as part of routine due diligence. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "James Clapper: 'I don’t recall what prompted a request' made on my behalf to unmask Flynn," 14 May 2020 Social workers following families suspected of abuse rely on checking school records, talking to therapists, and other types of due diligence that are more difficult when all those institutions are closed. Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, "The Worst Situation Imaginable for Family Violence," 8 May 2020 Sometimes the media and the public fail to do their due diligence, and sometimes the machinery malfunctions. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Math Is Hard: Social-Science Lessons from COVID-19," 28 Apr. 2020 That's because the kind of in-depth due diligence that a third-party buyer would do to to determine possible liabilities is not typically done by new owners in a spin-off. NBC News, "How DuPont may avoid paying to clean up a toxic 'forever chemical'," 1 Mar. 2020 So far, in our industry, the basic strategy for launching a new product was due diligence (market assessment etc). Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "At one of India’s oldest liquor companies, digital marketing is key to “relentless modernisation”," 27 Dec. 2019 But in normal times, banks have to adhere to all sorts of guidelines when offering credit: doing due diligence to make sure the money isn't going to aid fraud or money laundering, or simply to ensure the loan is properly underwritten. Jeff Spross, TheWeek, "What went wrong with coronavirus aid to small businesses," 7 Apr. 2020 Ingram left the conversation feeling good about Kennedy being his next head coach but wanted to do his due diligence just in case another program pursued Kennedy, or the former UAB star got cold feet about returning to his alma mater. John Talty | Jtalty@al.com, al, "How UAB conducted a coaching search during coronavirus pandemic," 25 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'due diligence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of due diligence

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for due diligence

Time Traveler

The first known use of due diligence was in 1598

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Statistics for due diligence

Last Updated

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Due diligence.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/due%20diligence. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for due diligence

due diligence


Financial Definition of due diligence

What It Is

Due diligence is the careful, thorough evaluation of a potential investment, whether on a corporate or individual level.

How It Works

For individual investors, due diligence often means studying annual reports, SEC filings, and any other relevant information about a company and its securities. The objective is to verify the material facts related to the purchase of the investment, as well as to understand whether the investment fits an individuals return requirements, risk tolerance, income needs, and asset allocation goals.

An individual's due diligence might include reading the company’s last two or three annual reports, several recent 10-Qs, and any independent research they could find. In doing so, they would develop a sense of where Company XYZ is headed, what market factors might affect the stock’s price, and how volatile the stock is. This in turn might give them guidance about whether the investment is right for you, and if so, the size and timing of their investment.

In a merger scenario, due diligence often involves a team of people specially tasked with reviewing and verifying every aspect of an investment in another company. In many cases, this team might include lawyers, accountants, and investment bankers.

Why It Matters

Due diligence helps people and companies understand the nature of an investment, the risks of an investment, and how (or whether) an investment fits into a particular portfolio. Due diligence isn’t just good sense, it’s a duty investors owe to themselves -- doing this sort of "homework" on a potential investment is often essential to making prudent investment decisions.

Source: Investing Answers

due diligence


Legal Definition of due diligence

1 : such diligence as a reasonable person under the same circumstances would use : use of reasonable but not necessarily exhaustive efforts

called also reasonable diligence

Note: Due diligence is used most often in connection with the performance of a professional or fiduciary duty, or with regard to proceeding with a court action. Due care is used more often in connection with general tort actions.

2a : the care that a prudent person might be expected to exercise in the examination and evaluation of risks affecting a business transaction
b : the process of investigation carried on usually by a disinterested third party (as an accounting or law firm) on behalf of a party contemplating a business transaction (as a corporate acquisition or merger, loan of finances, or especially purchase of securities) for the purpose of providing information with which to evaluate the advantages and risks involved the greatest exposure…for failure to conduct adequate due diligence arises in the context of public offerings of securities— G. M. Lawrence
c : the defense (as to a lawsuit) that due diligence was conducted

More from Merriam-Webster on due diligence

Britannica English: Translation of due diligence for Arabic Speakers

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