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


blame, fault, liability

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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

The Business Roundtable recently distributed a statement of purpose that lists social responsibility ahead of shareholder value. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Can AT&T Do Good and Reward Shareholders?—Data Sheet," 10 Sep. 2019 Employee recognition often falls to the HR department, which has significant other responsibilities. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, "Employee recognition a vital part of workplace culture: Ask HR," 10 Sep. 2019 Taking on debt, more work or additional responsibility should be avoided. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: Sept. 9, 2019," 9 Sep. 2019 Publishing information quickly and accurately is a central part of the Chicago Tribune’s news responsibility and a value shared in all our publications., "Corrections and clarifications," 9 Sep. 2019 Without them, the driving lanes Irving relies on dry up and more challenging defensive responsibilities tilt his game unfavorably. Rob Mahoney,, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020: Inside the Process," 9 Sep. 2019 The refugees believe the government has failed to protect them, a responsibility that falls to the Unification Ministry. Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, "She fled North Korea for a better life. How her lonely, impoverished death became political," 9 Sep. 2019 But Reed thinks the responsibility shouldn’t rest solely on recycling centers to do a better job. Elena Shao,, "San Francisco is surviving the global recycling crisis. But it’s not easy," 9 Sep. 2019 Building a workforce was also important, but the overarching, overriding concern was preparing citizens to exercise their rights and responsibilities. Danielle Allen, Twin Cities, "Danielle Allen: If we care about democracy, we need to rebuild civics education in our schools," 8 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for responsibility

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for responsibility

The first known use of responsibility was in 1771

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More Definitions for responsibility



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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Comments on responsibility

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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