re·​spon·​si·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ri-ˌspän(t)-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce responsibility (audio) \
plural responsibilities

Definition of responsibility

1 : the quality or state of being responsible: such as
a : moral, legal, or mental accountability
2 : something for which one is responsible : burden has neglected his responsibilities

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Synonyms for responsibility


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Examples of responsibility in a Sentence

… Landau's piece, examining the fan's, and the journalist's responsibility to rock stars … — Lawrence Dietz, Los Angeles Times Book Review, 23 May 1971 A great soprano has a responsibility to her public … — Robert Evett, Atlantic, September 1970 The responsibility for engineering the line of cars which in 1908 evolved the immortal Model T … — John Kenneth Galbraith, New York Times Book Review, 28 Feb. 1954 Anthony Burton had once said that this was your responsibility toward society. — John P. Marquand, Atlantic, Nov. 1947 The boys denied any responsibility for the damage to the fence. A terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the bombing. The janitor has many responsibilities. Mowing the lawn is your responsibility. She has to deal with a lot of family and work responsibilities. It is your responsibility to give the company two weeks notice if you decide to leave. In her new position, she will have much more responsibility. We have a responsibility to protect the environment. The government's responsibility is to serve the public. The principal has responsibility for 450 students and a staff of 35.
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Recent Examples on the Web Oregon State Police have assigned 80 officers to the courthouse protests, and state authorities will have primary responsibility for dealing with any incidents, according to the document. Washington Post, "Former KKK leader David Duke permanently banned from Twitter," 31 July 2020 Facilities have the responsibility to facilitate communication with a resident virtually, either by phone or videoconference. Marina Starleaf Riker,, "Texas advocate for nursing home-residents explains why nursing homes became hot spots for coronavirus," 31 July 2020 This is a historic time for the SEC, which is the preeminent conference in the country, and the league and all of its money has a responsibility to get this right. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Facing a crisis, wealthy SEC has more to worry about than itself," 11 July 2020 Physicians have a civic responsibility to speak out on things that matter to society. Fox News, "Dr. Oz assesses ranking of COVID-19 risk factors: How to make wise decisions for your family," 10 July 2020 Business leaders also have the responsibility to ensure that managers are empowered with information about the company’s benefits and health resources. Christopher J. Swift, Fortune, "A guide for companies that want to fight the stigma around opioid addiction," 6 July 2020 Multiple entities have responsibility for investigating abuse and corruption by NYPD officers. Eric Umansky, ProPublica, "The NYPD Isn’t Giving Critical Bodycam Footage to Officials Investigating Alleged Abuse," 3 July 2020 Ultimately, non-Black social media users and journalists have a responsibility to treat these videos more sacredly. Candice Wang, Popular Science, "Resharing videos of violence against Black people can spark more trauma," 3 July 2020 Fauci said Tuesday that young people have a responsibility to take precautions and follow social distancing protocol. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Latest pandemic development: Young people accounting for more infections," 23 June 2020

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

1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for responsibility

see responsible

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Time Traveler for responsibility

Time Traveler

The first known use of responsibility was in 1771

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Statistics for responsibility

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Responsibility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for responsibility


How to pronounce responsibility (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of responsibility

: the state of being the person who caused something to happen
: a duty or task that you are required or expected to do
: something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.


re·​spon·​si·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ri-ˌspän-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce responsibility (audio) \
plural responsibilities

Kids Definition of responsibility

1 : the quality or state of being in charge of someone or something
2 : the quality of being dependable Show responsibility by always doing your homework.
3 : something or someone for which someone has charge The children are my responsibility.

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