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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Unsurprisingly, the law has created several gray areas, including uncertainty over pregnancy losses or couples who use surrogates, and responsibility for child support in the case of sperm donors or uncertain paternity. Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 4 Aug. 2022 Another leadership responsibility is to engage with others in positions of authority. Charles E. Owubah, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 Everyone, even a screw-up, has power and responsibility as part of a larger community. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 1 Aug. 2022 Winning Drag Race in some people's eyes comes with responsibility. Joey Nolfi,, 1 Aug. 2022 Owning a dog is a large responsibility which includes keeping an eye on their behavior for anything unusual. Daryl Perry, USA TODAY, 30 July 2022 Koeppel was issued a misdemeanor summons and charged with following too closely and evading responsibility in connection with the crash that occurred at about 9:30 p.m. July 24 on Route 7 North in Brookfield. Hartford Courant, 30 July 2022 It’s our duty and responsibility to educate young people on the importance of voting. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 29 July 2022 Gone are the bonds of guilt and responsibility that burden the maternal relationship. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 29 July 2022 See More

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.

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

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Responsibility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for responsibility


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on responsibility

Nglish: Translation of responsibility for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of responsibility for Arabic Speakers


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