Definition of responsibility noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌspɒnsəˈbɪləti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌspɑːnsəˈbɪləti//
    (pl. responsibilities)
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  1. 1  [uncountable, countable] a duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong responsibility (for something) We are recruiting a sales manager with responsibility for the European market. responsibility (for doing something) They have responsibility for ensuring that the rules are enforced. The responsibility for doing this rests with the department managers. responsibility (to do something) It is their responsibility to ensure that the rules are enforced. parental rights and responsibilities to take/assume overall responsibility for personnel I don't feel ready to take on new responsibilities. to be in a position of responsibility I did it on my own responsibility (= without being told to and being willing to take the blame if it had gone wrong).
  2. 2  [uncountable] responsibility (for something) blame for something bad that has happened The bank refuses to accept responsibility for the mistake. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the bombing. We must all bear some responsibility for what happened. see also diminished responsibility
  3. 3  [uncountable, countable] a duty to help or take care of somebody because of your job, position, etc. responsibility (to/towards somebody) She feels a strong sense of responsibility towards her employees. responsibility (to do something) I think we have a moral responsibility to help these countries.
  4. Extra examples Full responsibility for the fiasco lies with the PR department. Governors carry a special burden of responsibility. He attributed responsibility for the killing to the secret service. He feels a responsibility to his community. He feels a strong sense of responsibility towards his parents. He seems unwilling to face up to his responsibilities as a father. He was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. I don’t feel ready to take on new responsibilities. It is a great responsibility caring for other people’s children. No organization has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. Responsibility is devolved down to the people who are affected. She has responsibility for public spending. She juggled the competing responsibilities of family and work. The assistants were handling their responsibilities in the only way they could. The club has a responsibility to its members. The government of the time placed responsibility for the poor on the Church. The heads of school departments have particular responsibilities for the curriculum. The sergeant assumed his command responsibilities. They wanted to shift responsibility for the failure onto their employees. Ultimate responsibility rests with the president. We retain all responsibility for any shortcomings. What are the main responsibilities in your job? Will you take responsibility for arranging the food? With great power comes great responsibility. an obligation to meet family responsibilities devolving responsibility downwards so decisions are taken nearer to the people they will affect people on the verge of assuming adult responsibilities to shift legal responsibility for the correct labelling of goods onto the shopkeeper I’m not ready to be in a position of responsibility.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: responsibility