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

That would mean Pro Bowls and playoffs, reliability and responsibility, rushing and receiving. Doug Lesmerises,, "Looking forward to the day Browns RB Nick Chubb is good enough to hold out: Doug Lesmerises," 10 Aug. 2019 And most of all, a part with more responsibility, preferably a leading role. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "After ‘Game of Thrones,’ Nathalie Emmanuel Is Ready to Take the Lead," 9 Aug. 2019 During the week, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities, of a franchised citizen. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County students ‘learn by doing’ at Boys State," 6 Aug. 2019 Having responsibilities beyond her sport also gives her perspective. Amy Marturana, SELF, "How a Professional Kayaker and Homeschooling Mother of Two Gets It All Done," 30 July 2019 No greater responsibility in my life than to be daddy to these 6 beautiful little ladies. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How Much the Adam and Danielle Busby Actually Make on TLC's 'OutDaughtered'," 24 July 2019 Since when do immigrants have a responsibility to remake their home countries? Steven Greenhut, Orange County Register, "Trump blew a chance to follow in Reagan’s footsteps," 19 July 2019 In conjunction with his hiring and those responsibilities, Auburn provided Person with initial and ongoing training and education on NCAA legislation. Sam Blum |,, "Auburn expects basketball program to receive Notice of Allegations from NCAA," 18 July 2019 Blumenthal said having a concrete number that’s separate from the Congressional appropriations process is a better way of ensuring the success of the center and the USOC’s responsibility for funding it. Eddie Pells, The Denver Post, "Overhaul would give Congress power to fire U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s entire board," 30 July 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

16 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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