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

Definition of responsibility 

1 : the quality or state of being responsible: such as

a : moral, legal, or mental accountability

b : reliability, trustworthiness

2 : something for which one is responsible : burden has neglected his responsibilities

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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

Taneyhill is slowly taking care of his financial responsibilities. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "This man cost Sacramento County more in one year than any other homeless person," 8 July 2018 The Wizards hired Richman as an assistant video coordinator before the 2013-14 season, and over time took on player development responsibilities. Jonas Shaffer,, "Continuing ascent from Maryland, Ryan Richman named Wizards assistant coach," 3 July 2018 Hicks is the other starting linebacker and Bradham takes over Hicks’ responsibilities when Hicks is out of the lineup. Zach Berman,, "Eagles' Nigel Bradham suspended one game," 29 June 2018 The role will see Ostroff take on responsibilities for negotiating with music labels for video and audio programming. Claire Atkinson, NBC News, "Spotify hires former Condé Nast exec Dawn Ostroff as chief content officer," 26 June 2018 Dolton has moved to dismiss the suits, relying on court precedent that found Chicago had no legal responsibility under similar circumstances. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "One year later, Dolton trustees still seek answers in nightclub shooting that injured 5," 26 June 2018 Meanwhile, discussions on social media and Goodreads have helped us refine our understanding of the responsibilities an author takes on when writing characters whose backgrounds and experiences differ from their own. Nicole Dieker, Longreads, "How the Self-Publishing Industry Changed, Between My First and Second Novels," 23 June 2018 The state board, which enacts statewide education policy and disciplines educators investigated for misconduct, will discuss at 9 a.m. Monday whether the scope of their responsibilities also includes striking teachers. Ricardo Cano, azcentral, "Board of Education weighs punishing teachers who walked out during #RedForEd," 20 June 2018 Comparison: Antonio Daniels DiVincenzo projects as a hard-nosed rotation guy who plays both ends, with potential to take on more ballhandling responsibilities down the line. Jake Fischer,, "2018 NBA Draft: Donte DiVincenzo Scouting Report and Highlights," 18 June 2018

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

25 Oct 2018

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 \
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

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