This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
I want to find out the origin of the word 'duty' including spelling, meanings, etc.
Submitted by janet s (new york - U.S.A.)
Signature: Topic imported and archived
Duty comes from the word 'due', plus the '-ty' suffix on the model of 'fealty' or 'beauty'. Due itself is the past participle of French devoir, to owe, itself based on Latin 'debitum'
Signature: Jonathon Green