do duty


[doo-tee, dyoo-]
noun, plural duties.
something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
the binding or obligatory force of something that is morally or legally right; moral or legal obligation.
an action or task required by a person's position or occupation; function: the duties of a clergyman.
the respectful and obedient conduct due a parent, superior, elder, etc.
an act or expression of respect.
a task or chore that a person is expected to perform: It's your duty to do the dishes.
an assigned task, occupation, or place of service: He was on radar duty for two years.
the military service required of a citizen by a country: After graduation, he began his duty.
Commerce. a specific or ad valorem tax imposed by law on the import or export of goods.
a payment, service, etc., imposed and enforceable by law or custom.
Chiefly British. tax: income duty.
the amount of work done by an engine per unit amount of fuel consumed.
the measure of effectiveness of any machine.
Agriculture. the amount of water necessary to provide for the crop in a given area.
Baby Talk. bowel movement.
do duty, to serve the same function; substitute for: bookcases that do duty as room dividers.
off duty, not at one's post or work; at liberty: They spent their days off duty in hiking and fishing.
on duty, at one's post or work; occupied; engaged: He was suspended from the force for being drunk while on duty.

1250–1300; Middle English du(e)te < Anglo-French duete. See due, -ty2

1. Duty, obligation refer to what one feels bound to do. Duty is what one performs, or avoids doing, in fulfillment of the permanent dictates of conscience, piety, right, or law: duty to one's country; one's duty to tell the truth, to raise children properly. An obligation is what one is bound to do to fulfill the dictates of usage, custom, or propriety, and to carry out a particular, specific, and often personal promise or agreement: financial obligations. 3. responsibility, business. 4. deference. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
duty (ˈdjuːtɪ)
n , pl -ties
1.  a task or action that a person is bound to perform for moral or legal reasons
2.  respect or obedience due to a superior, older persons, etc: filial duty
3.  the force that binds one morally or legally to one's obligations
4.  a government tax, esp on imports
5.  (Brit)
 a.  the quantity or intensity of work for which a machine is designed
 b.  a measure of the efficiency of a machine
6.  the quantity of water necessary to irrigate an area of land to grow a particular crop
7.  a.  a job or service allocated
 b.  (as modifier): duty rota
8.  do duty for to act as a substitute for
9.  off duty not at work
10.  on duty at work
[C13: from Anglo-French dueté, from Old French deudue]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, from Anglo-Fr. duete, from O.Fr. deu "due, owed," from V.L. *debutus, from L. debitus, pp. of debere "to owe." Related: Duties. The sense of "tax or fee in imports, exports, etc." is from late 15c.; duty-free as a noun is attested from 1958.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

duty definition

A tax charged by a government, especially on an import.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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