All Words > Devoir

illustration Devoir



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Middle English, 14th century


A person's duty.

Examples of Devoir in a sentence

"Harrison believes it’s his devoir to feed all the stray cats on his block."

"During World War II, many Americans saw it as a devoir to grow their own vegetables in Victory Gardens."

About Devoir

“Devoir” has roots in both the Middle English “debvoir” and the Old French “deveir,” both of which are based on the Latin “dēbeō.” All of these roots mean “to owe.”

Did you Know?

“Devoir” developed as a word simultaneously in English and French, and in general the word means the same thing in both languages: “duty” or “obligation.” However, in French, “devoir” is also a verb meaning “to have to,” and it is commonly used to describe things one must do, such as renewing a driver’s license. There is no equivalent for “homework” in French, describing work done away from school. Rather, French students do their “devoirs” (a plural noun), a term that accentuates their duty to the work. In English, “devoir” may evoke lofty ideals of duty and service to one’s nation, community, or family. In French, “devoir” just refers to everyday tasks that everyone has to do.

illustration Devoir

Recent Words

What's the word?