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 (do͞o′tē, dyo͞o′-)
n. pl. du·ties
a. An act or a course of action that is required of one by position, social custom, law, or religion: the duties of being a critical care nurse.
b. Required action or service: jury duty; beyond the call of duty. See Synonyms at function.
c. Active military service: a tour of duty.
a. Moral or legal obligation: It is your duty to tell the truth.
b. The compulsion felt to meet such obligation: acting out of duty.
3. A tax charged by a government, especially on imports.
a. The application of something for a purpose; use: The dining room table also does duty as a desk.
b. A measure of efficiency expressed as the amount of work done per unit of energy used.
5. The total volume of water required to irrigate a given area in order to cultivate a specific crop until harvest.
duty bound
Obliged: You are duty bound to help your little sister and brother.
off duty
Not engaged in or responsible for assigned work.
on duty
Engaged in or responsible for assigned work.

[Middle English duete, from Anglo-Norman, from due, variant of Old French deu, due; see due.]


pl n
tasks to be done as part of one's job. See also duty
References in classic literature ?
It is natural to think of it, Meg, right to hope and wait for it, and wise to prepare for it, so that when the happy time comes, you may feel ready for the duties and worthy of the joy.
In the son's presence she was timid and reserved, but sometimes while he hurried about town intent upon his duties as a reporter, she went into his room and closing the door knelt by a little desk, made of a kitchen table, that sat near a window.
I'll be here," promised Ned; and then he went downtown to attend to some matters con- nected with his new duties, which were much less irksome than those he had had when he had been in the bank.
Then her absolute disregard for her duties as a wife angered him.
Valiant and skillful hast thou proved thyself in the conflict, and I hereby thank thee, before proceeding to discharge other and more important duties, because thou hast proved thyself well worthy of a Christian's praise.
As the two truants rolled up the avenue the spring sunshine warmed them, the sense of duties neglected added zest to their holiday, and young Mr.
Christie turned away, relapsing into her old resigned manner, and assuming her household duties in a quiet, temporizing way that was, however, without hope or expectation.
His duties all performed, --the highest prosperity attained,--his race and future generations fixed on a stable basis, and with a stately roof to shelter them for centuries to come,--what other upward step remained for this good man to take, save the final step from earth to the golden gate of heaven
My fellow-officers, and the merchants and sea-captains with whom my official duties brought me into any manner of connection, viewed me in no other light, and probably knew me in no other character.
She was young, untried, nervous: it was a vision of serious duties and little company, of really great loneliness.
I was already aware that in the whaling business they paid no wages; but all hands, including the captain, received certain shares of the profits called lays, and that these lays were proportioned to the degree of importance pertaining to the respective duties of the ship's company.
I have taught them the duties of the family, of parent and child, and husband and wife; and how can I bear to have this open acknowledgment that we care for no tie, no duty, no relation, however sacred, compared with money?