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


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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 But modern economic life has also become significantly unmoored from responsibility to people and the planet. Christopher Mackin, The New Republic, "Toward an Economic Democracy," 25 Mar. 2020 The issue here, then, isn’t best seen as being about responsibilities. New York Times, "I Think Sex for Pay Is Wrong. Should I Stay With a Partner Who Disagrees?," 24 Mar. 2020 Because Trump has increasingly pushed responsibility onto state governors and mayors, such a centralized, resource-sharing approach appears unlikely in America. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump wants ‘the country opened,’ but easing coronavirus restrictions now would be disastrous, experts say," 24 Mar. 2020 This is a time that tests leadership and national responsibility. Aron Heller,, "Likud members urge speaker to defy Israeli high court order," 24 Mar. 2020 November may bring an opportunity or offer that might guarantee future rewards but also entails additional responsibilities. oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 22, 2020: Happy birthday Constance Wu; Aquarius, avoid changes in routines," 22 Mar. 2020 Funding problems State and federal governments share responsibility for unemployment programs. Erin Mansfield And Kevin Crowe, USA Today, "Unemployment funds were in trouble before coronavirus. Now claims are sky high.," 20 Mar. 2020 Trump, who rejects all responsibility, is this Nobody now. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Coronavirus and the Kursk Submarine Disaster," 18 Mar. 2020 The patients’ state of record then took over quarantine responsibilities. Joshua Fechter,, "Texas to boost coronavirus testing capacity to 10,000 a week; San Antonio restricts gatherings to 50," 16 Mar. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for responsibility

Time Traveler

The first known use of responsibility was in 1771

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Statistics for responsibility

Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Responsibility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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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.

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