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Definition: Specific duty
(sp[-e]*s[i^]f"[i^]k), a. [F.
sp['e]cifique, or NL. spesificus; L. species a particular
sort or kind + facere to make. Cf. specify
1. Of or pertaining to a species; characterizing or
constituting a species; possessing the peculiar property
or properties of a thing which constitute its species, and
distinguish it from other things; as, the specific form of
an animal or a plant; the specific qualities of a drug;
the specific distinction between virtue and vice.
Specific difference is that primary attribute which
distinguishes each species from one another. --I.
2. Specifying; definite, or making definite; limited;
precise; discriminating; as, a specific statement.
3. (Med.) Exerting a peculiar influence over any part of the
body; preventing or curing disease by a peculiar
adaptation, and not on general principles; as, quinine is
a specific medicine in cases of malaria.
In fact, all medicines will be found specific in the
perfection of the science. --Coleridge.
(Nat. Hist.), a characteristic or
characteristics distinguishing one species from every
other species of the same genus.
(a) A disease which produces a determinate definite effect
upon the blood and tissues or upon some special
(b) A disease which is itself uniformly produced by a
definite and peculiar poison or organism.
. (Com.) See under Duty
. (Physics) See under Gravity
(Physics), the quantity of heat required to
raise the temperature of a body one degree, taking as the
unit of measure the quantity required to raise the same
weight of water from zero to one degree; thus, the
specific heat of mercury is 0.033, that of water being
Specific inductive capacity
(Physics), the effect of a
dielectric body in producing static electric induction as
compared with that of some other body or bodies referred
to as a standard.
(Law), a bequest of a particular thing, as
of a particular animal or piece of furniture, specified
and distinguished from all others. --Wharton. --Burrill.
(Nat. Hist.), the name which, appended to the
name of the genus, constitutes the distinctive name of the
species; -- originally applied by Linn[ae]us to the
essential character of the species, or the essential
difference. The present specific name he at first called
the trivial name
(Law), the peformance of a contract or
agreement as decreed by a court of equity.
, n.; pl. Duties
. [From Due
1. That which is due; payment. [Obs. as signifying a material
When thou receivest money for thy labor or ware,
thou receivest thy duty. --Tyndale.
2. That which a person is bound by moral obligation to do, or
refrain from doing; that which one ought to do; service
Forgetting his duty toward God, his sovereign lord,
and his country. --Hallam.
3. Hence, any assigned service or business; as, the duties of
a policeman, or a soldier; to be on duty.
With records sweet of duties done. --Keble.
To employ him on the hardest and most imperative
Duty is a graver term than obligation. A duty hardly
exists to do trivial things; but there may be an
obligation to do them. --C. J. Smith.
4. Specifically, obedience or submission due to parents and
5. Respect; reverence; regard; act of respect; homage. “My
duty to you.”
6. (Engin.) The efficiency of an engine, especially a steam
pumping engine, as measured by work done by a certain
quantity of fuel; usually, the number of pounds of water
lifted one foot by one bushel of coal (94 lbs. old
standard), or by 1 cwt. (112 lbs., England, or 100 lbs.,
7. (Com.) Tax, toll, impost, or customs; excise; any sum of
money required by government to be paid on the
importation, exportation, or consumption of goods.
Note: An impost on land or other real estate, and on the
stock of farmers, is not called a duty, but a direct
Ad valorem duty
, a duty which is graded according to the
cost, or market value, of the article taxed. See Ad valorem
, a duty of a specific sum assessed on an
article without reference to its value or market.
, actually engaged in the performance of one's
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