duty

[ doo-tee, dyoo- ]
/ ˈdu ti, ˈdyu- /

noun, plural du·ties.

Idioms

Origin of duty

1250–1300; Middle English du(e)te < Anglo-French duete. See due, -ty2

Synonym study

1. Duty, obligation refer to what one feels bound to do. Duty is what one performs, or avoids doing, in fulfillment of the permanent dictates of conscience, piety, right, or law: duty to one's country; one's duty to tell the truth, to raise children properly. An obligation is what one is bound to do to fulfill the dictates of usage, custom, or propriety, and to carry out a particular, specific, and often personal promise or agreement: financial obligations.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for on duty

duty

/ (ˈdjuːtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

Word Origin for duty

C13: from Anglo-French dueté, from Old French deu due
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 on duty

duty


n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for on duty

duty


A tax charged by a government, especially on an import.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with on duty (1 of 2)

on duty


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]

Idioms and Phrases with on duty (2 of 2)

duty


In addition to the idiom beginning with duty

  • duty bound

also see:

  • above and beyond (the call of duty)
  • active duty

do one's dutydouble dutyoff dutyon duty.

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