View synonyms for responsibility


[ ri-spon-suh-bil-i-tee ]


, plural re·spon·si·bil·i·ties.
  1. the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one's power, control, or management.

    Synonyms: answerability, accountability

  2. an instance of being responsible:

    The responsibility for this mess is yours!

  3. a particular burden of obligation upon one who is responsible:

    the responsibilities of authority.

  4. a person or thing for which one is responsible:

    A child is a responsibility to their parents.

  5. reliability or dependability, especially in meeting debts or payments.


/ rɪˌspɒnsəˈbɪlɪtɪ /


  1. the state or position of being responsible
  2. a person or thing for which one is responsible
  3. the ability or authority to act or decide on one's own, without supervision

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Other Words From

  • non·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty noun plural nonresponsibilities
  • pre·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty noun plural preresponsibilities
  • self-re·spon·si·bil·i·ty noun
  • su·per·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty noun plural superresponsibilities

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Word History and Origins

Origin of responsibility1

First recorded in 1780–90; respons(ible) + -ibility

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. on one's own responsibility, on one's own initiative or authority:

    He changed the order on his own responsibility.

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Example Sentences

We knew we had a huge responsibility to help our customers communicate at a time when everything about communication had changed.

From Vox

There’s also the added responsibility of dealing with stimulus-payment problems.

“We don’t delegate tasks to people, we delegate responsibility — everyone knows what they’re responsible for and can be autonomous in how, when and where they deliver that work,” he said.

From Digiday

Briefly, she thought about asking her parents to co-sign, but Walston said that would feel like another failure of her responsibility to take care of her daughter.

I was young and I didn’t have a lot of home responsibilities.

From Ozy

What responsibility was taken by cops when they kill unjustly?

For anything to work, including law itself, there must be ample room for individual responsibility.

Law has been rebuilt in the last 50 years to be an instrument of control, not a framework for human responsibility.

Nothing will work sensibly, or fairly, until human responsibility is restored as the activating force for all public choices.

After all, how could someone struggling to take care of himself be expected to take responsibility for others?

It seemed to free her of a responsibility which she had blindly assumed and for which Fate had not fitted her.

Let us go back to the capital, and the responsibility shall fall on my shoulders alone.'

He gave orders, on his own responsibility, that Black Sheep was not to go to school or open a book until Mamma came home.

It may be, of course, that the responsibility was thrown on the lady in order to restrain the hand of the incensed king.

On him, and on him alone, falls the crushing onus of responsibility: to be a Corps Commander is child's play in that comparison.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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