/dooh"tee, dyooh"-/, n., pl. duties.1. something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.2. the binding or obligatory force of something that is morally or legally right; moral or legal obligation.3. an action or task required by a person's position or occupation; function: the duties of a clergyman.4. the respectful and obedient conduct due a parent, superior, elder, etc.5. an act or expression of respect.6. a task or chore that a person is expected to perform: It's your duty to do the dishes.7. Mil.a. an assigned task, occupation, or place of service: He was on radar duty for two years.b. the military service required of a citizen by a country: After graduation, he began his duty.8. Com. a specific or ad valorem tax imposed by law on the import or export of goods.9. a payment, service, etc., imposed and enforceable by law or custom.10. Chiefly Brit. tax: income duty.11. Mach.a. the amount of work done by an engine per unit amount of fuel consumed.b. the measure of effectiveness of any machine.12. Agric. the amount of water necessary to provide for the crop in a given area.13. Baby Talk. bowel movement.14. do duty, to serve the same function; substitute for: bookcases that do duty as room dividers.15. off duty, not at one's post or work; at liberty: They spent their days off duty in hiking and fishing.16. on duty, at one's post or work; occupied; engaged: He was suspended from the force for being drunk while on duty.[1250-1300; ME du(e)te < AF duete. See DUE, -TY2]Syn. 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.
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