du·​ti·​ful | \ˈdü-ti-fəl also ˈdyü- \

Definition of dutiful 

1 : filled with or motivated by a sense of duty a dutiful child

2 : proceeding from or expressive of a sense of duty a dutiful effort

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Other Words from dutiful

dutifully \-​f(ə-​)lē \ adverb
dutifulness \-​fəl-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dutiful


deferent, deferential, regardful, respectful


disrespectful, undutiful

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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

Getty ImagesWPA Pool Yesterday, Prince Harry took on the role of dutiful husband and stepped back to let wife Meghan Markle have her moment in the spotlight. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Watch Prince Harry Get Caught Sneaking Samosas From Meghan Markle's 'Together: Our Community Cookbook' Launch," 21 Sep. 2018 The death is entirely natural; the election is petty and uninteresting; the characters are all secretly terrible in a flat and dutiful sort of way. Constance Grady, Vox, "J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike books are the next best thing to a grown-up Harry Potter," 31 Aug. 2018 But in this midterm election cycle, her dutiful courting, which saved her in 2016 when Hillary Clinton easily defeated President Trump in her district, may not be enough. Michael Tackett, New York Times, "This Republican Always Shows Up. That May Not Be Enough This Fall.," 3 July 2018 For his 95-year-old mother Genevieve Semchena, who also lives in Royal Oak, the dutiful son bought not one but two portable power units. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "History of power outages riles metro Detroiters, DTE promises fixes," 28 June 2018 The effect is not that of a dutiful museum effort but an intriguing look at ballet theatrics of the past. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘Harlequinade’ Review: Humor and History Take Center Stage," 6 June 2018 Accompanying Rapunzel on her journey is Eugene; Cassandra; her loyal chameleon sidekick, Pascal; no-nonsense and dutiful horse, Maximus; and the Snuggly Duckling Pub Thugs. Kimberly Nordyke, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Tangled,' Starring Mandy Moore, Renewed at Disney Channel With New Name (Exclusive)," 31 May 2018 Nine days later, when yet another mass shooting occurred—five dead in Northern California, the killer having tried to enter an elementary school—Trump accidentally sent out a version of the same dutiful tweet. Jim Nelson, GQ, "Trump Is Our Nation's Worst Commander-in-Grief," 21 May 2018 The plants needed cold frames for spring, and the soil needed to be warmed by plastic for early summer, and then came dutiful protection from a particular species of beetle, which he was known to pursue by hand. C.j. Chivers, Popular Mechanics, "My Father's Garden: The Life My Dad Passed Down to Me," 19 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dutiful.' 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 dutiful

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for dutiful

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for dutiful

The first known use of dutiful was in 1552

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English Language Learners Definition of dutiful

: doing what is expected of you


du·​ti·​ful | \ˈdü-ti-fəl, ˈdyü-\

Kids Definition of dutiful

: doing or showing the willingness to do what is expected or required a dutiful child

Other Words from dutiful

dutifully \-​fə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on dutiful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dutiful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dutiful

Spanish Central: Translation of dutiful

Nglish: Translation of dutiful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on dutiful

What made you want to look up dutiful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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