call of duty

call of duty

Meaning | Synonyms

  • something you must do or feel compelled to do
  • to do something that is morally right
  • the feeling that you must do something because it is your duty
  • a requirement or expectation
  • a duty with no chance of reward
  • also, a video game

The phrase is also famous as a modern warfare gaming experience, by the same name.

Variations

  • above and beyond the call of duty
  • beyond the call of duty
  • above the call of duty

Meaning

  • to do something more than the expectations
  • more heroic than what is expected
  • extremely brave
  • very heroic

Example Sentences

  1. Both of my grandfathers felt it was their call of duty to enlist immediately for active service when the war broke out.
  2. Her efforts to keep the peace went beyond the call of duty.
  3. Sam really went above and beyond the call of duty when he dived into the sea to save that drowning dog.
  4. They went beyond the call of duty to get their new business off the ground.
  5. She was an inspiration to others and dedicated far beyond the call of duty.
  6. It is my honor and privilege to cite you for service above and beyond the call of duty.
  7. She praised him for "going above and beyond the call of duty."
  8. He acted beyond the call of duty and demonstrated immense courage by risking his own life to save another.
  9. I will go beyond the call of duty by trying to bring about much-needed reform.
  10. All our colleagues in the front lines of health care for going above and beyond the call of duty in combating the SARS outbreak.

Origin

There is no origin available but, the phrase call of duty is referring to something you feel obligated to do. If you go above or beyond the call of duty, then you are doing more than is required, needed, or expected of you. You do this task for noble reasons, knowing there will be no reward or payment for it. It is a compulsion or something that you feel morally bound to do.

The idiomatic expression is often used to talk about teachers, social workers, nurses, and other people who work hard to help others.

The phrase seems to have been propagated by the American armed forces during World War I. The following discontent at the ease with which the Medal of Honour was awarded:

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a law requiring the War Department to set up a commission of distinguished generals and admirals to review all previous medal awards.

At the same time, the services created a series of lesser medals to honor acts of courage. The Medal of Honor would only be awarded for actions above and beyond the call of duty and in actual combat.

Then, from 1919 onwards an identical sentence - "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, above and beyond the call of duty, in action with the enemy" somewhere in France - appears repeatedly. Here's the earliest example we could find, from The Story of the 91st Division, 91st Division Publication Committee, 1919:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, above and beyond the call of duty, in action with the enemy near Gesne, France, September 28, 1918.
- Miller, Oscar F., Major, 361st Infantry - p. 92.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, above and beyond the call of duty, in action with the enemy near Eclisfontaine, France, September 26, 1918.
- Katz, Phillip C., Sargeant, Co. C, 363rd Infantry - p. 93.

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