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active duty

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noun Military.
  1. the status of full-time service: on active duty.
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Also called active service.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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active duty

Full-time service, as in Julian is 81, but he still comes to the office every day and is very much on active duty. This term comes from the military, where it stands in opposition to reserve, which refers to troops still in the military but not actively engaged. It is occasionally transferred to civilian matters as well. [First half of 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.