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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for responsibility


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Our military forces were brave enough to claim responsibility early on. Joanna Slater,, "Iran’s foreign minister says officials ‘lied’ about downing of Ukrainian plane," 15 Jan. 2020 Our military forces were brave enough to claim responsibility early on. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Iran’s foreign minister says officials ‘lied’ about downing of Ukrainian plane," 15 Jan. 2020 The strike marked a break from past administrations, which have never publicly claimed responsibility for killing senior figures from the Iranian regime or its proxies. NBC News, "Trump authorized Soleimani's killing 7 months ago, with conditions," 13 Jan. 2020 Miguel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Ill., were assigned to 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack in Kandahar province., "News of the Day From Around the World," 12 Jan. 2020 By Sunday afternoon, no country had claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes amid tensions between the United States and Iran over the last week-and-half. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "BREAKING: Bombs strike Iraqi military base, wounding at least 4 soldiers," 12 Jan. 2020 Current Time 0:00 / Duration 0:00 Loaded: 0% Stream Type LIVE Remaining Time -0:00 1x No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Time, "4 Iraqi Servicemen Wounded by Rocket Attack on Air Base Near American Trainers," 12 Jan. 2020 In an interview, Mr. Chaudhary claimed responsibility for some of the violence on Sunday. New York Times, "Behind Campus Attack in India, Some See a Far-Right Agenda," 10 Jan. 2020 Hope Harrison posted on Facebook on Thursday evening to thank people for their prayers and support after her husband, Dustin Harrison, was killed on Sunday by Al-Shabab extremists, who later claimed responsibility for the attack. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "Public invited to funeral for Arizona pilot who was killed in Kenya terrorist attack," 10 Jan. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of responsibility

1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for responsibility

see responsible

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about responsibility

Time Traveler for responsibility

Time Traveler

The first known use of responsibility was in 1771

See more words from the same year

Statistics for responsibility

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Responsibility.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for responsibility


How to pronounce responsibility (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to assert without proof or before proving

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

January 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • image1642096650
  • Which is a synonym of bonhomie?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!