Word of the Day

responsibility

Origin of the word

The noun responsibility comes from the Latin verb ‘respondere’, meaning ‘to respond’, via the past participle stem ‘respons-’. In the 13th century, the French was ‘responsible’ and at the end of the 16th century this meant ‘answerable to’ or ‘expected to justify’, as in ‘required to justify or answerable to someone for something’.

In the 1640s, responsible meant ‘accountable for actions’ and 50 years later responsible was in use with the sense of ‘trustworthy or reliable’.



The noun responsibility indicated ‘the situation of being responsible’ in 1787 and the sense in which it came to mean ‘something for which someone is responsible’ came later at the end of the 18th century.

Related words: responsible, responsibly, responsibilities.

Examples

Taking responsibility for actions is an important feature:

“’It may be the case that once again we have a company looking to avoid its responsibilities by using bogus self employment resulting in the denial of basic employment rights,’ says Michael Newman.” Independent. 3rd November 2017: Gig economy lawyer says Gym Group may have questions to answer over contracts (2b).

“Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits Spurs are a great team, but says the 4-1 defeat against them was ‘100% our responsibility.’” BBC. 22nd October 2017: Defeat was 100% our responsibility – Klopp (3).

“Employers often view a candidate’s sense of responsibility when recruiting. Research shows this links to good job performance, especially when the worker is unsupervised, and may be an indicator of the candidate’s potential to become a manager or leader.” Guardian. 28th March 2009: Tried and tested (2a).

Definition

1. the state or job of being in charge of someone or something and of making sure that what they do or what happens to them is right or satisfactory
2. a. a duty that you have to do because it is part of your job or position
b. a moral duty to behave in a particular way
3. blame for something that has happened.

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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