• synonyms


[dil-i-juh ns]
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  1. constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.
  2. Law. the degree of care and caution required by the circumstances of a person.
  3. Obsolete. care; caution.
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Origin of diligence1

1300–50; Middle English deligence (< Anglo-French) < Latin dīligentia, equivalent to dīligent- (stem of dīligēns) diligent + -ia; see -ence


[dil-i-juh ns; French dee-lee-zhahns]
noun, plural dil·i·gen·ces [dil-i-juh n-siz; French dee-lee-zhahns] /ˈdɪl ɪ dʒən sɪz; French di liˈʒɑ̃s/.
  1. a public stagecoach, especially as formerly used in France.
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Origin of diligence2

1735–45; short for French carosse de diligence speed coach
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for diligence


  1. steady and careful application
  2. proper attention or care
  3. law the degree of care required in a given situation
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin dīligentia care, attentiveness


  1. history a stagecoach
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Word Origin

C18: from French, shortened from carosse de diligence, literally: coach of speed
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

Word Origin and History for diligence


mid-14c., from Old French diligence "attention, care; haste, speed," from Latin diligentia "attentiveness, carefulness," from diligentem (nominative diligens) "attentive, assiduous, careful," originally present participle of diligere "single out, value highly, esteem, prize, love; aspire to, be content with, appreciate," originally "to pick out, select," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + legere "choose, gather" (see lecture (n.)).

Sense evolved from "love" through "attentiveness" to "carefulness" to "steady effort." From the secondary French sense comes the old useage of diligence for "public stage coach" (1742; dilly for short), from a French shortening of carrosse de diligence.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper