A duty (from “due” meaning “that which is owing”; Old French: deu, did, past participle of devoir; Latin: debere, debitum, whence “debt”) is a commitment or expectation to perform some action in general or if certain circumstances arise. A duty may arise from a system of ethics or morality, especially in an honor culture. Many duties are based created by law, sometimes including a codified punishment or liability for non-performance. Performing one’s duty may require some sacrifice of self-interest.
Cicero, an early Roman philosopher who discusses duty in his work “On Duty”, suggests that duties can come from four different sources:
as result of being a human
as a result of one’s particular place in life (one’s family, one’s country, one’s job)
as a result of one’s character
as a result of one’s own moral expectations for oneselfThe specific duties imposed by law or culture vary considerably, depending on jurisdiction, religion, and social norms.
That which one is morally or legally obligated to do.
“We don’t have a duty to keep you here.”
A period of time spent at work or doing a particular task.
“I’m on duty from 6 pm to 6 am.”
Describing a workload as to its idle, working and de-energized periods.
A tax placed on imports or exports; a tariff.
“customs duty; excise duty”
One’s due, something one is owed; a debt or fee.
Respect; reverence; regard; act of respect; homage.
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).
The state of being responsible, accountable, or answerable.
“Responsibility is a heavy burden.”
A duty, obligation or liability for which someone is held accountable.
“Why didn’t you clean the house? That was your responsibility!”
“The responsibility of the great states is to serve and not to dominate the world – Harry S. Truman”
The obligation to carry forward an assigned task to a successful conclusion. With responsibility goes authority to direct and take the necessary action to ensure success.
The obligation for the proper custody, care, and safekeeping of property or funds entrusted to the possession or supervision of an individual.