noun du·ty \ˈdü-tē also ˈdyü-\

: something that is done as part of a job

: something that you must do because it is morally right or because the law requires it

: active military service

plural duties

Full Definition of DUTY

:  conduct due to parents and superiors :  respect
a :  obligatory tasks, conduct, service, or functions that arise from one's position (as in life or in a group)
b (1) :  assigned service or business
(2) :  active military service (3) :  a period of being on duty
a :  a moral or legal obligation
b :  the force of moral obligation
:  tax; especially :  a tax on imports
a :  work 1a
b (1) :  the service required (as of an electric machine) under specified conditions
(2) :  functional application :  use <got double duty out of the trip> (3) :  use as a substitute <making the word do duty for the thing — Edward Sapir>
off duty
:  free from assignment or responsibility
on duty
:  engaged in or responsible for an assigned task or duty

Origin of DUTY

Middle English duete, from Anglo-French deueté, dueté, from deu due
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of DUTY

function, office, duty, province mean the acts or operations expected of a person or thing. function implies a definite end or purpose or a particular kind of work <the function of language is two-fold: to communicate emotion and to give information — Aldous Huxley>. office is typically applied to the function or service associated with a trade or profession or a special relationship to others <they exercise the offices of the judge, the priest, the counsellor — W. E. Gladstone>. duty applies to a task or responsibility imposed by one's occupation, rank, status, or calling <it is the judicial duty of the court, to examine the whole case — R. B. Taney>. province applies to a function, office, or duty that naturally or logically falls to one <I felt it was not my province to inquire — Anne Brontë>.

task, duty, job, chore, stint, assignment mean a piece of work to be done. task implies work imposed by a person in authority or an employer or by circumstance <charged with a variety of tasks>. duty implies an obligation to perform or responsibility for performance <the duties of a lifeguard>. job applies to a piece of work voluntarily performed; it may sometimes suggest difficulty or importance <the job of turning the company around>. chore implies a minor routine activity necessary for maintaining a household or farm <every child was assigned chores>. stint implies a carefully allotted or measured quantity of assigned work or service <a 2-month stint as a reporter>. assignment implies a definite limited task assigned by one in authority <a reporter's assignment>.



Definition of DUTY

:  done as a duty
:  being on duty :  assigned to specified tasks or functions <the duty officer>

First Known Use of DUTY

DUTY Defined for Kids


noun du·ty \ˈdü-tē, ˈdyü-\
plural duties

Definition of DUTY for Kids

:  something a person feels he or she ought to do because it is morally right <Dad says it's his duty to take care of Grandma.>
:  something a person is required to do by law <jury duty>
:  an action done as part of a job or position <a principal's duties>
:  the time during which a person must do his or her job <The police officer was on duty.>
:  active military service <He returned from duty overseas.>
:  a tax especially on imports into a country
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