duty

noun
du·​ty | \ ˈdü-tē How to pronounce duty (audio) also ˈdyü- \
plural duties

Definition of duty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : conduct due to parents and superiors : respect filial duty and obedience— John Locke
2a : obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one's position (as in life or in a group) was his duty to support his family Her primary duty at the meeting was to take attendance. performs a variety of administrative duties
b(1) : assigned service or business was put on kitchen duty jury duty
(2) : active military service returning from duty overseas
(3) : a period of being on duty report for duty at 7 a.m.
3a : a moral or legal obligation felt it was their duty to help
b : the force of moral obligation will be ready when duty calls
4 : tax especially : a tax on imports a 15 percent duty
b(1) : the service required (as of an electric machine) under specified conditions
(2) : functional application : use got double duty out of the trip
(3) : use as a substitute making the word do duty for the thing— Edward Sapir
off duty
: free from assignment or responsibility a police officer who was off duty at the time
on duty
: engaged in or responsible for an assigned task or duty not allowed to take personal calls while on duty

duty

adjective

Definition of duty (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : done as a duty pay a duty call on her elderly aunt
2 : being on duty : assigned to specified tasks or functions the duty officer

Synonyms for duty

Synonyms: Noun

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Noun

function, office, duty, province mean the acts or operations expected of a person or thing. function implies a definite end or purpose or a particular kind of work. the function of language is two-fold: to communicate emotion and to give information — Aldous Huxley office is typically applied to the function or service associated with a trade or profession or a special relationship to others. they exercise the offices of the judge, the priest, the counsellor — W. E. Gladstone duty applies to a task or responsibility imposed by one's occupation, rank, status, or calling. it is the judicial duty of the court, to examine the whole case — R. B. Taney province applies to a function, office, or duty that naturally or logically falls to one. I felt it was not my province to inquire — Anne Brontë

task, duty, job, chore, stint, assignment mean a piece of work to be done. task implies work imposed by a person in authority or an employer or by circumstance. charged with a variety of tasks duty implies an obligation to perform or responsibility for performance. the duties of a lifeguard job applies to a piece of work voluntarily performed; it may sometimes suggest difficulty or importance. the job of turning the company around chore implies a minor routine activity necessary for maintaining a household or farm. every child was assigned chores stint implies a carefully allotted or measured quantity of assigned work or service. a 2-month stint as a reporter assignment implies a definite limited task assigned by one in authority. a reporter's assignment

Examples of duty in a Sentence

Noun His primary duty at the event is to take attendance. If new employees are unable to carry out their duties, they may be fired. We felt it was our duty to help. He has a duty to support his family. They helped her out of a sense of duty. I'll be ready when duty calls. Her brother returned from duty overseas. a twelve-month tour of duty Many reserve troops were called into active duty. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The star of the show is a punchy sauce of coconut cream, cilantro, mint, fish sauce, garlic, lime and serrano pepper that does double duty as both marinade for the chicken thighs and dip for the crunchy vegetables. Asha Loupy, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2022 With parents living longer and children coming later, an entire generation has become well acquainted with the double duty of caring for children as well as elderly parents. Jessica Ferri, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2022 The Queen was the last royal to perform the duty when England won the soccer World Cup at Wembley Stadium in 1966. Phil Boucher, PEOPLE.com, 31 July 2022 During the sultry months, my bowl is a fixture on our breakfast table, pretty enough to do double duty as a serving dish. Sarah Karnasiewicz, WSJ, 29 July 2022 Trudeau, too, said the visit was a beginning and that reconciliation was the duty of everyone. Nicole Winfield And Rob Gillies, Anchorage Daily News, 28 July 2022 Enigma pulls double duty as an air pulse stimulator and internal vibrator. Jaina Grey, Wired, 27 July 2022 Novak, who also wrote the script, does triple duty as the lead. Joey Morona, cleveland, 26 July 2022 Mike Pence, as having failed in a fundamental duty of the job. CBS News, 24 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On Wednesday, the city revoked the special event permit for the Aurora Pride group to hold the parade, saying not enough police officers had signed up for overtime or extra-duty shifts to provide adequate security for the event. Megan Jones, Chicago Tribune, 9 June 2022 The situation began shortly after 7 p.m. at the Neiman Marcus store when an Orlando police officer working an extra-duty shift at the mall kicked out a man of the store for acting oddly. David Harris, Orlando Sentinel, 29 May 2022 The school board and the union also plan to change the district’s retirement program, extra-duty pay and the tuition reimbursement plan, and, according to the agreement, teachers’ workday will start and end 15 minutes before and after the students’. Daniel I. Dorfman, chicagotribune.com, 15 Mar. 2022 Statewide peer coordinator Jeff Orrange said the nonprofit’s 2016 founding was not just in response to the Pulse shooting but also the rising numbers of non-duty deaths among firefighters, including those resulting from addiction and suicide. Kalia Richardson, orlandosentinel.com, 9 June 2021 As an example, our top choice is an excellent mid-duty machine with 6,400 bpm and 3,000 pounds force. Bob Beacham, chicagotribune.com, 12 Mar. 2021 Those extra-duty assignments often make up a substantial part of a driver’s monthly earnings. Don Stacom, courant.com, 2 Sep. 2020 Chauvin worked as an off-duty police officer for the club for nearly 17 years, Santamaria said. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 1 June 2020 McLemore was in the company of a female off-duty police officer during the offense. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 10 Nov. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of duty

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for duty

Noun and Adjective

Middle English duete, from Anglo-French deueté, dueté, from deu due

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Time Traveler for duty

Time Traveler

The first known use of duty was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near duty

dutuburi

duty

duty bound

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Statistics for duty

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Duty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duty. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for duty

duty

noun
du·​ty | \ ˈdü-tē How to pronounce duty (audio) , ˈdyü- \
plural duties

Kids Definition of duty

1 : something a person feels he or she ought to do because it is morally right Dad says it's his duty to take care of Grandma.
2 : something a person is required to do by law jury duty
3 : an action done as part of a job or position a principal's duties
4 : the time during which a person must do his or her job The police officer was on duty.
5 : active military service He returned from duty overseas.
6 : a tax especially on imports into a country

duty

noun
du·​ty
plural duties

Legal Definition of duty

1 : tasks, service, or functions that arise from one's position performing a police officer's duties also : a period of being on duty — see also jury duty
2 : an obligation assumed (as by contract) or imposed by law to conduct oneself in conformance with a certain standard or to act in a particular way duty of good faith a duty to warn of danger — see also public duty doctrine, special duty doctrine
duty of candor \ -​ˈkan-​dər \
: a duty obligating directors of a corporation to disclose all material facts known to them about a transaction when they are seeking shareholder approval
duty of care
: a duty to use due care toward others in order to protect them from unnecessary risk of harm
duty of fair representation
: a duty obligating a labor union to represent the employees in its collective bargaining unit fairly and in good faith
duty of loyalty
: a duty obligating directors of a corporation to refrain from using their positions to further their own interests rather than the interests of the shareholders (as by self-dealing or fraud)
fiduciary duty
: a duty obligating a fiduciary (as an agent or trustee) to act with loyalty and honesty and in a manner consistent with the best interests of the beneficiary of the fiduciary relationship (as a principal or trust beneficiary)
3 : tax especially : a tax on imports
off duty
: not engaged in a duty a police officer who is off duty
on duty
: engaged in a duty

History and Etymology for duty

Anglo-French deuté indebtedness, obligation, from deu owing, due, from Old French — see due

More from Merriam-Webster on duty

Nglish: Translation of duty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of duty for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about duty

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