Definition for DU'TY

DU'TY, n. [from due, Fr. dû.]

  1. That which a person owes to another; that which a person is bound, by any natural, moral or legal obligation, to pay, do or perform. Obedience to princes, magistrates and the laws, is the duty of every citizen and subject; obedience, respect and kindness to parents are duties of children; fidelity to friends is a duty; reverence, obedience and prayer to God are indispensable duties; the government and religious instruction of children are duties of parents which they can not neglect without guilt.
  2. Forbearance of that which is forbid by morality, law, justice or propriety. It is our duty to refrain from lewdness, intemperance, profaneness and injustice.
  3. Obedience; submission.
  4. Act of reverence or respect. They both did duty to their lady. – Spenser.
  5. The business of a soldier or marine on guard; as, the company is on duty. It is applied also to other services or labor.
  6. The business of war; military service; as, the regiment did duty in Flanders.
  7. Tax, toll, impost, or customs; excise; any sum of money required by Government to be paid on the importation, exportation, or consumption of goods. An impost on land or other real estate, and on the stock of farmers, is not called a duty, but a direct tax. – United States.
  8. In enginery, the amount of weight which is lifted by a steam engine, by a certain quantity of coal.

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