[ ri-spon-suh-bil-i-tee ]
See synonyms for: responsibilityresponsibilities on

noun,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.

  2. an instance of being responsible: The responsibility for this mess is yours!

  1. a particular burden of obligation upon one who is responsible: the responsibilities of authority.

  2. a person or thing for which one is responsible: A child is a responsibility to their parents.

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

Idioms about responsibility

  1. on one's own responsibility, on one's own initiative or authority: He changed the order on his own responsibility.

Origin of responsibility

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

Other words for responsibility

Other words from responsibility

  • non·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty, noun, plural non·re·spon·si·bil·i·ties.
  • pre·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty, noun, plural pre·re·spon·si·bil·i·ties.
  • self-re·spon·si·bil·i·ty, noun
  • su·per·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty, noun, plural su·per·re·spon·si·bil·i·ties. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use responsibility in a sentence

  • She wants the great tonic cure of self-reliance and self-responsibility.

    Home Rule | Harold Spender
  • As Ursula passed from girlhood towards womanhood, gradually the cloud of self-responsibility gathered upon her.

    The Rainbow | D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • Believing in the dignity of self-responsibility, he could not assume the burden of Julia's discouragement.

    Narcissus | Evelyn Scott

British Dictionary definitions for responsibility


/ (rɪˌspɒnsəˈbɪlɪtɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. the state or position of being responsible

  2. a person or thing for which one is responsible

  1. the ability or authority to act or decide on one's own, without supervision

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