re·​spon·​si·​bil·​i·​ty ri-ˌspän(t)-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce responsibility (audio)
plural responsibilities
: the quality or state of being responsible: such as
: moral, legal, or mental accountability
: something for which one is responsible : burden
has neglected his responsibilities

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web This punishment was handed down after a number of highly critical statement and actions the American prelate had made towards the pope, particularly his efforts to make the church more welcoming to the LGBTQ community and to give more responsibility to women and lay-people (non-priests). William Skipworth, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 At a certain point, wouldn’t the improbable success of the Slow Horses lead MI-5 to give them some real responsibility? Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 29 Nov. 2023 Naturally, Peso is Double P Records’ head of A&R and oversees other creative responsibilities (and Laija is signed to the label). Thania Garcia, Variety, 29 Nov. 2023 Soviet authorities, evading responsibility, never confirmed more than 145 fatalities. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Nov. 2023 Because in the end, honestly, and this is no offense to my husband who is a great dad, but women really stand for most of the child-rearing responsibility. Gillian Telling, Peoplemag, 28 Nov. 2023 Having the option to work around other responsibilities like caring for a loved one or treating any health issues would benefit older workers and may help retain those close to retirement. Sander Van 't Noordende, Fortune, 28 Nov. 2023 Cal Fire firefighters turned over responsibility for fighting the fire to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services on Friday evening, and at that point the fire was considered 75 percent contained, Cal Fire Capt. Brent Pascua said. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Nov. 2023 Anything, honestly, other than a television rehash of The Queen, sticking poor Imelda Staunton with the responsibility of mimicking not only the actual Queen Elizabeth but also Helen Mirren’s Oscar-winning performance. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'responsibility.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see responsible

First Known Use

1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of responsibility was in 1771

Dictionary Entries Near responsibility

Cite this Entry

“Responsibility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​spon·​si·​bil·​i·​ty ri-ˌspän(t)-sə-ˈbil-ət-ē How to pronounce responsibility (audio)
plural responsibilities
: the quality or state of being responsible
: the quality of being dependable
: something for which one is responsible
neglected his responsibilities

More from Merriam-Webster on responsibility

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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