do one's duty

Idioms & Phrases

do one's duty

  1. Do one's tasks or what is expected of one. For example, He was only doing his duty when he made the children finish their work. [Early 1500s]

  2. Defecate or urinate, as in Please keep the dog outdoors until he does his duty. This euphemism for attending to such needs is heard less often today. [1930s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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