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Word of the Day
Thursday, September 12, 2002

Definitions for onus

  1. A burden; an obligation; a disagreeable necessity.
  2. a: A stigma. b: Blame.
  3. The burden of proof.

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Citations for onus
And who knew what financial pressures he was under or how desperate was his need to shed the onus of his past? Richard Lingeman, New York Times
The onus of leadership fell on him. Scott Ritter, Endgame
Origin of onus
1630-1640
Onus is adopted from Latin onus, "load, burden." The derivative Latin adjective onerosus yields English onerous, "burdensome, oppressive." The derivative Latin verb onerare has the compound form exonerare, "to free from (ex-) an onus or burden," which yields English exonerate, "to relieve, in a moral sense, as of a charge, obligation, or load of blame resting on one."
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