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[duh-vwahr, dev-wahr; French duh-vwar] /dəˈvwɑr, ˈdɛv wɑr; French dəˈvwar/
noun, plural devoirs
[duh-vwahrz, dev-wahrz; French duh-vwar] /dəˈvwɑrz, ˈdɛv wɑrz; French dəˈvwar/ (Show IPA)
an act of civility or respect.
devoirs, respects or compliments.
something for which a person is responsible; duty.
Origin of devoir
1250-1300; Middle English devoir, deveir, dever < Old French devoir (Anglo-French deveir, dever) < Latin dēbēre to owe; cf. debt Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for devoirs
Historical Examples
  • In the interval between the first and second acts I saw gentlemen of all classes paying their devoirs to these ladies.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt
  • No, no, it was not thus your own brave countrymen understood their 'devoirs.'

    The O'Donoghue Charles James Lever
  • He wanted to come up here and pay his devoirs to you, but I evaded the honour.

    A Daughter of the Vine Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
  • How could any bow pay its devoirs distinctly to thirty-five strings?

    The Violin George Dubourg
  • I have a profound respect for the venerable bottle, and would pay my devoirs to it.

    The Lancashire Witches William Harrison Ainsworth
  • It was my intention to pay my devoirs at Versailles tomorrow.

  • The devoirs had strange names indicating the legends with which the origins of these organizations were connected.

    Syndicalism in France Louis Levine
  • Think you, Madame, that I could remain long in Paris and fail to pay you my devoirs?

    Francezka Molly Elliot Seawell
  • No true Beltonian returning from a long absence ever failed to pay his devoirs at that shrine.

    Mark Gildersleeve John S. Sauzade
  • You will grant that it is in character for a Senator to pay his devoirs to a sultana.

    A Dream of Empire William Henry Venable
British Dictionary definitions for devoirs


/dəˈvwɑː; French dəvwar/
plural noun
(sometimes sing) compliments or respects; courteous attentions
Word Origin
C13: from Old French: duty, from devoir to be obliged to, owe, from Latin dēbēre; see debt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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