noun, plural du·ties.
- an assigned task, occupation, or place of service: He was on radar duty for two years.
- the military service required of a citizen by a country: After graduation, he began his duty.
- the amount of work done by an engine per unit amount of fuel consumed.
- the measure of effectiveness of any machine.
Origin of duty
Synonyms for duty
noun plural -ties
- the quantity or intensity of work for which a machine is designed
- a measure of the efficiency of a machine
- a job or service allocated
- (as modifier)duty rota
Word Origin for duty
late 13c., from Anglo-French duete, from Old French deu "due, owed; proper, just," from Vulgar Latin *debutus, from Latin debitus, past participle of debere "to owe" (see debt). Related: Duties. The sense of "tax or fee on imports, exports, etc." is from late 15c.; duty-free as a noun is attested from 1958.
A tax charged by a government, especially on an import.
At one's post, at work, as in The new nurse was on duty that evening, or The watchman was fired because he was drunk on duty. [Mid-1600s] The antonym, off duty, means “not engaged in one's work,” as in Captain Smith was much more amiable when he was off duty. [Mid-1800s]
In addition to the idiom beginning with duty
- duty bound
- above and beyond (the call of duty)
- active duty
do one's dutydouble dutyoff dutyon duty.