What does duty mean?

Definitions for dutyˈdu ti, ˈdyu-

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word duty.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. duty, responsibility, obligation(noun)

    the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force

    "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D.Rockefeller Jr

  2. duty(noun)

    work that you are obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons

    "the duties of the job"

  3. duty, tariff(noun)

    a government tax on imports or exports

    "they signed a treaty to lower duties on trade between their countries"


  1. duty(Noun)

    That which one is morally or legally obligated to do.

  2. duty(Noun)

    A period of time spent at work or doing a particular task.

    Iu2019m on duty from 6 pm to 6 am.

  3. duty(Noun)

    describing a workload as to its idle, working and de-energized periods.

  4. duty(Noun)

    A tax placed on imports or exports; a tariff.

  5. duty(Noun)

    One's due, something one is owed; a debt or fee.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Duty(noun)

    that which is due; payment

  2. Duty(noun)

    that which a person is bound by moral obligation to do, or refrain from doing; that which one ought to do; service morally obligatory

  3. Duty(noun)

    hence, any assigned service or business; as, the duties of a policeman, or a soldier; to be on duty

  4. Duty(noun)

    specifically, obedience or submission due to parents and superiors

  5. Duty(noun)

    respect; reverence; regard; act of respect; homage

  6. Duty(noun)

    the efficiency of an engine, especially a steam pumping engine, as measured by work done by a certain quantity of fuel; usually, the number of pounds of water lifted one foot by one bushel of coal (94 lbs. old standard), or by 1 cwt. (112 lbs., England, or 100 lbs., United States)

  7. Duty(noun)

    tax, toll, impost, or customs; excise; any sum of money required by government to be paid on the importation, exportation, or consumption of goods

  8. Origin: [From Due.]


  1. Duty

    Duty is a term that conveys a sense of moral commitment or obligation to someone or something. The moral commitment should result in action; it is not a matter of passive feeling or mere recognition. When someone recognizes a duty, that person theoretically commits themself to its fulfillment without considering their own self-interest. This is not to suggest that living a life of duty entirely precludes a life of leisure; however, its fulfillment generally involves some sacrifice of immediate self-interest. Typically, "the demands of justice, honor, and reputation are deeply bound up" with duty. Cicero, an early philosopher who discusses duty in his work “On Duty", suggests that duties can come from four different sources: ⁕as result of being human ⁕as a result of one's particular place in life ⁕as a result of one's character ⁕as a result of one's own moral expectations for oneself Various derivative uses of the word have sprung from the root idea of obligation, a concept involved in the notion of duty; thus it is used in the services performed by a minister of a church, by a soldier, or by any employee or servant.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Duty

    dū′ti, n. that which is due: what one is bound by any obligation to do: obedience: military service: respect or regard: one's proper business: tax on goods.—adj. Dū′teous, devoted to duty: obedient.—adv. Dū′teously.—n. Dū′teousness.—adjs. Dū′tiable, subject to custom duty; Dū′tied, subjected to duties and customs; Dū′tiful, attentive to duty: respectful: expressive of a sense of duty.—adv. Dū′tifully.—n. Dū′tifulness.—adj. Dū′ty-free, free from tax or duty. [Formed from Anglo-Fr. deu or due (mod. Fr. ) and suffix -ty. See Due (1).]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. duty

    A pleasure which we try to make ourselves believe is a hardship.

Suggested Resources

  1. DUTY

    What does DUTY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the DUTY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'duty' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1268

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'duty' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1724

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'duty' in Nouns Frequency: #370


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of duty in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of duty in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Walter Savage Landor:

    Consult duty not events.

  2. Hul Sokheng:

    He knows his duty: search.

  3. Horation Nelson, Admiral British Navy, dying words:

    Thank God I have done my duty.

  4. Theodore Parker:

    Who escapes duty, avoids a gain.

  5. Paul Tillich:

    The first duty of love is to listen.

Images & Illustrations of duty

  1. dutydutyduty

Translations for duty

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