- something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
- the binding or obligatory force of something that is morally or legally right; moral or legal obligation.
- an action or task required by a person's position or occupation; function: the duties of a clergyman.
- the respectful and obedient conduct due a parent, superior, elder, etc.
- an act or expression of respect.
- a task or chore that a person is expected to perform: It's your duty to do the dishes.
- 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.
- Commerce. a specific or ad valorem tax imposed by law on the import or export of goods.
- a payment, service, etc., imposed and enforceable by law or custom.
- Chiefly British. tax: income duty.
- the amount of work done by an engine per unit amount of fuel consumed.
- the measure of effectiveness of any machine.
- Agriculture. the amount of water necessary to provide for the crop in a given area.
- Baby Talk. bowel movement.
- do duty, to serve the same function; substitute for: bookcases that do duty as room dividers.
- off duty, not at one's post or work; at liberty: They spent their days off duty in hiking and fishing.
- on duty, at one's post or work; occupied; engaged: He was suspended from the force for being drunk while on duty.
Origin of duty
Synonyms for dutySee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a task or action that a person is bound to perform for moral or legal reasons
- respect or obedience due to a superior, older persons, etcfilial duty
- the force that binds one morally or legally to one's obligations
- a government tax, esp on imports
- the quantity or intensity of work for which a machine is designed
- a measure of the efficiency of a machine
- the quantity of water necessary to irrigate an area of land to grow a particular crop
- a job or service allocated
- (as modifier)duty rota
- do duty for to act as a substitute for
- off duty not at work
- on duty at work
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.