du·​ti·​ful ˈdü-ti-fəl How to pronounce dutiful (audio)
 also  ˈdyü-
: filled with or motivated by a sense of duty
a dutiful child
: proceeding from or expressive of a sense of duty
a dutiful effort
dutifully adverb
dutifulness noun

Examples of dutiful in a Sentence

the dutiful way he took care of his sick mother the family showed a dutiful deference to their minister when he came to dinner
Recent Examples on the Web The rest of it, the dutiful search, too often disappoints. Clare Sestanovich, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2023 These more serious subplots sometimes feel less like real narratives than dutiful moral ballast. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 Advertisement The adagio, with pulsating string textures and grinding suspensions over dutiful baroque harmonic sequences leads into an aggressive, if academic, fugue. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Oct. 2023 Perhaps his memoir’s relative elision of their relationship, compared with the dutiful recounting of everything Sonic Youth ever accomplished, mirrors that real-life reticence. Vulture, 20 Oct. 2023 Sure, Beach’s debut is sometimes stiff and dutiful. Becca Rothfeld, Washington Post, 22 June 2023 Much of House of Usher proceeds less with frenzied energy than a dutiful sense of obligation. Phillip MacIak, The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2023 Her dutiful parents — ever at her side all these years on tour, with her father as coach — gave her extra freedom and fell just enough into the background. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 10 Sep. 2023 Meanwhile, Jonas, 34, was painted as a dutiful father, solely caring for their two young children even as his band, the Jonas Brothers, is on tour. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dutiful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dutiful was in 1552

Dictionary Entries Near dutiful

Cite this Entry

“Dutiful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dutiful. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


du·​ti·​ful ˈd(y)üt-i-fəl How to pronounce dutiful (audio)
: having or showing a sense of duty
dutifully adverb
dutifulness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on dutiful

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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