see also: Duty
Pronunciation Noun


  1. That which one is morally or legally obligated to do.
    We don't have a duty to keep you here.
    • 1805, 21 October, Horatio_Nelson,_1st_Viscount_Nelson
      England expects that every man will do his duty.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0105 ↗:
      Captain Edward Carlisle […] felt a curious sensation of helplessness seize upon him as he met her steady gaze, […]; he could not tell what this prisoner might do. He cursed the fate which had assigned such a duty, cursed especially that fate which forced a gallant soldier to meet so superb a woman as this under handicap so hard.
  2. The state of being at work and responsible for or doing a particular task.
    I’m on duty from 6 pm to 6 am.
  3. A tax placed on imports or exports; a tariff.
    customs duty; excise duty
  4. (obsolete) One's due, something one is owed; a debt or fee.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Gospel of Matthew XX:
      Take that which is thy duty, and goo thy waye.
  5. (obsolete) Respect; reverence; regard; act of respect; homage.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene ii]:
      my duty to you
  6. The efficiency of an engine, especially a steam pumping engine, as measured by work done by a certain quantity of fuel; usually, the number of pounds of water lifted one foot by one bushel of coal (94 lbs. old standard), or by 1 cwt. (112 lbs., England, or 100 lbs., United States).
Synonyms Antonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname

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