On duty


On duty
Duty Du"ty, n.; pl. {Duties}. [From {Due}.] 1. That which is due; payment. [Obs. as signifying a material thing.] [1913 Webster]

When thou receivest money for thy labor or ware, thou receivest thy duty. --Tyndale. [1913 Webster]

2. That which a person is bound by moral obligation to do, or refrain from doing; that which one ought to do; service morally obligatory. [1913 Webster]

Forgetting his duty toward God, his sovereign lord, and his country. --Hallam. [1913 Webster]

3. Hence, any assigned service or business; as, the duties of a policeman, or a soldier; to be on duty. [1913 Webster]

With records sweet of duties done. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

To employ him on the hardest and most imperative duty. --Hallam. [1913 Webster]

Duty is a graver term than obligation. A duty hardly exists to do trivial things; but there may be an obligation to do them. --C. J. Smith. [1913 Webster]

4. Specifically, obedience or submission due to parents and superiors. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

5. Respect; reverence; regard; act of respect; homage. ``My duty to you.'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. (Engin.) The efficiency of an engine, especially a steam pumping engine, as measured by work done by a certain quantity of fuel; usually, the number of pounds of water lifted one foot by one bushel of coal (94 lbs. old standard), or by 1 cwt. (112 lbs., England, or 100 lbs., United States). [1913 Webster]

7. (Com.) Tax, toll, impost, or customs; excise; any sum of money required by government to be paid on the importation, exportation, or consumption of goods. [1913 Webster]

Note: An impost on land or other real estate, and on the stock of farmers, is not called a duty, but a direct tax. [U.S.] [1913 Webster]

{Ad valorem duty}, a duty which is graded according to the cost, or market value, of the article taxed. See {Ad valorem}.

{Specific duty}, a duty of a specific sum assessed on an article without reference to its value or market.

{On duty}, actually engaged in the performance of one's assigned task. [1913 Webster] ||


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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