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[oh-nuh s] /ˈoʊ nəs/
noun, plural onuses.
a difficult or disagreeable obligation, task, burden, etc.
burden of proof.
Compare onus probandi.
blame or responsibility.
Origin of onus
1630-40; < Latin: load, burden
1. responsibility, weight, duty, load.

onus probandi

[oh-noo s proh-bahn-dee; English oh-nuh s proh-ban-dahy, -dee] /ˈoʊ nʊs proʊˈbɑn di; English ˈoʊ nəs proʊˈbæn daɪ, -di/
noun, Latin.
the burden of proof. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for onus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It threw upon the Senate the onus of repairing the defects of the bill.

  • Any tyro in the logics will tell thee that the onus of proving lies with the accuser.

  • At all events the onus of proof rests with those who assert it is imponderable.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper
  • Let it be understood by such as are aware of what has been, that I bear the onus of the rupture.

    Heartsease Charlotte M. Yonge
  • The onus of speech seemed to rest with him, and he accepted it.

    The Yellow House E. Phillips Oppenheim
British Dictionary definitions for onus


noun (pl) onuses
a responsibility, task, or burden
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: burden

onus probandi

/ˈəʊnəs prəʊˈbændɪ/
(law) the Latin phrase for burden of proof
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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Word Origin and History for onus

1640s, from Latin onus "load, burden," figuratively "tax, expense; trouble, difficulty," from PIE *en-es- "burden" (cf. Sanskrit anah "cart, wagon"). Hence legal Latin onus probandi (1722), literally "burden of proving."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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