due diligence

[ doo-dil-i-juhns, dyoo ]
/ ˈdu ˈdɪl ɪ dʒəns, ˈdyu /
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noun Law, Business.
reasonable care and caution exercised by a person who is buying, selling, giving professional advice, etc., especially as required by law to protect against incurring liability: The court said there was due diligence on the part of the plaintiff.
the process of gathering or disclosing relevant and reliable information about a prospective sale, purchase, contract, etc.: You should perform due diligence on a company before investing.
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Origin of due diligence

1785–90 (1450–1500 in the sense “requisite effort”)

Words nearby due diligence

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does due diligence mean?

Due diligence most generally means reasonable care and caution or the proper actions that a situation calls for, especially those that help to avoid harm or risk.

Due means “proper” or “required.” In legal contexts, diligence means “the degree of care required in a given situation.” In this way, due diligence is the level of care or caution that a specific situation calls for.

Due diligence is especially used in legal and business contexts involving buying, selling, or giving professional advice. This kind of due diligence is often required by law in order to prevent liability.

The phrase due diligence can also refer to the process of researching or disclosing pertinent information before entering into a contract or deal.

For example, in the sale of a house, due diligence on the part of the seller involves disclosing information about the house, such as major problems and the dates when repairs were made. The buyer performs their due diligence by gathering this information and making the proper inspections of the house before the purchase.

It can also be used in more general contexts, as in Don’t believe everything you read on the internet—do your due diligence and fact-check anything that sounds fishy.

The phrase is often used with the verbs perform and do.

Example: Be sure to do your due diligence before investing—you want to be sure where your money is going and what the terms are.

Where does due diligence come from?

The first records of the phrase due diligence come from the 1400s, but the first records of it being used in its modern sense come from the 1780s.

Widespread use of the term increased during the second half of the 1900s. It has become especially associated with the kind of research and disclosures performed before contracts and sales are finalized and investments are made.

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What are some synonyms for due diligence?

What are some words that share a root or word element with due diligence

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How is due diligence used in real life?

Due diligence is typically used in the context of business or legal transactions. It is especially used with the verbs do and perform.

Try using due diligence!

Is due diligence used correctly in the following sentence?

I advise everyone to perform their due diligence by hiring a home inspector—you want to know what you’re buying.

How to use due diligence in a sentence