General English

  • noun something which you are legally or morally expected to do
  • plural noun different jobs that have to be done as part of your official work


  • noun a moral or legal obligation


  • Tax. That is, an import duty is a tariff.


  • The work or operation of a device or piece of equipment, under given conditions. Also, an interval of such work or operation.


  • noun specified tasks which a person is required to do as part of his or her job


  • noun the responsibility for something that someone has
  • noun the official work which someone has to do in their job
  • noun the tax which is paid on goods


  • noun a piece of work that a person has to do

Origin & History of “duty”

Duty comes from Anglo-Norman dueté. this was a derivative of Old French deu ‘owed’ (source of English due (13th c.)), which in turn came from Latin dēbitus, past participle of dēbēre ‘owe’ and source of English debit and debt. (Latin dēbēre was originally a compound verb formed from the prefix - ‘away’ and habēre ‘have’, literally ‘have away’, that is ‘keep in one’s possession what belongs to someone else’.) So etymologically one’s duty is what one ‘owes’ to others.