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duty noun

1 sth that you have to do because it is right or expected

ADJ. contractual, legal, mandatory, statutory Retailers have a statutory duty to provide goods suitable for their purpose. | general, primary the general duty of the police to preserve the peace | professional | civic, public I feel it is my civic duty to vote. | patriotic | family, filial, parental | ethical, moral He felt it was his moral duty to help his neighbour. | absolute, bounden, fundamental, sacred, solemn I feel it's my bounden duty to try and help her.

VERB + DUTY have, owe (law) You have a legal duty to take reasonable care. The railway company owes a duty of care to all its customers. | carry out, do, fulfil, meet, perform She put down the phone and went out, her duty done. She felt she had fulfilled her duty by providing him with a son. | fail in He had failed in his duty towards his daughter. | neglect, shirk I'd be shirking my duty if I didn't warn him. | assign, charge sb with, impose It was a duty imposed by her father. | assume, take on He took on the duty of maintaining the family home.

DUTY + VERB call I wanted to stop and chat, but duty called and I went back to the office.

PREP. under a/the ~ You are under a statutory duty to keep accurate records. | ~ of It's the duty of each and every one of us to do their best for the team. They have a duty of confidentiality. | ~ to, ~ towards They have a duty to their parents to work hard.

PHRASES a breach of duty It was a clear breach of professional duty. | do your duty I suppose we'd better do our duty and report the accident. | do your duty by sb You feel that you have to do your duty by your children. | be duty bound to do sth An employer is not duty bound to provide a reference when an employee leaves. | (above and) beyond the call of duty The time he put in helping new recruits went beyond the call of duty. | feel it your duty to do sth I felt it my duty to go to the police. | in breach of a duty (formal) It was ruled that the injured man was in breach of his duty by not wearing the safety equipment provided. | a sense of duty I did it out of a sense of duty.

2 tasks that you do when you are at work

ADJ. light When I returned to work after my illness I was put on light duties. | onerous | day, night At 10.45 p.m. she reported for night duty. | beat, escort, guard, point, sentry Police usually do beat duty in pairs. The traffic lights were not working so there was a policeman on point duty. | daily, routine | official | administrative, professional, secretarial | domestic, household My household duties were not particularly onerous. | military

VERB + DUTY have The members of staff each have their own duties. | carry out, discharge, do, perform She was unable to carry out her duties because she was too ill. | come on, go on, report for Colleagues became suspicious when he failed to report for duty. | come off, go off What time do you go off duty? | neglect, shirk He was accused of neglecting his professional duties. | resume, return to He leaves hospital tomorrow and is expected to resume his duties at the beginning of next month. | be released from Her son was released from duty in the army to visit her in hospital. | be relieved of, be suspended from When he failed to turn up for training, he was relieved of his duties as captain.

DUTY + NOUN doctor, nurse, officer, pharmacist He went to the police station and spoke to the duty officer.

PREP. off ~ I'm off duty tomorrow night. | on ~ You're not allowed to drink alcohol on duty.

PHRASES the execution/performance of your duties The company is liable if you are injured during the execution of your duty.

3 tax

ADJ. heavy, high the heavy duty on cigarettes | low | customs, excise, export, import excise duty on spirits | alcohol, fuel, tobacco, etc. Tobacco duty is a major source of revenue for the government. | death

QUANT. amount We tried to estimate the amount of duty we would have to pay.

VERB + DUTY put on, slap on They are going to put duty on foreign cars. | take off | increase, put up, raise They're going to put up the duty on tobacco. | cut, lower, reduce | pay | avoid, evade They claim that the wine is for personal use and so evade the duty. | be liable to Perfume is liable to import duty. | carry Cider carries duty at the lower rate. | be exempt from Beer for personal use is exempt from duty.

PREP. in ~ By changing its supplier, the company saved thousands of pounds in import duty. | ~ on You have to pay duty on all electrical goods.