Definition of onus in US English:



usually as the onus
  • Used to refer to something that is one's duty or responsibility.

    ‘the onus is on you to show that you have suffered loss’
    • ‘Some argue that minimum wages constrain job creation by the onus they put on employers.’
    • ‘But if a home-owner kills a burglar the onus is on him to prove that his use of force was reasonable.’
    • ‘The goalkeeper sometimes deserves credit, but the onus is really on the penalty-taker.’
    • ‘If it is successful, however, the onus for action will swing back to Unionism.’
    • ‘It is a question of judgment, and the onus is clearly on those who propose the limitation.’
    • ‘Remember the onus is on all residents to make the effort if they are unable just ask for assistance.’
    • ‘But it would also put the onus on the opposition parties to use their power responsibly.’
    • ‘Hence the onus lies on the woman to do something, maybe look elsewhere or go home.’
    • ‘There's not much between the two teams, but perhaps the onus is more on us after our achievement in the last round.’
    • ‘She said that he could clear up the matter by releasing the necessary information and that the onus was on him to do so quickly.’
    • ‘There is no specific law to deal with this crime in India and the onus of proof often lies with the victim.’
    • ‘So, the onus is on the parents to understand and handle their children effectively.’
    • ‘It should not be up to the women on this campus to take all of the onus of protecting ourselves from attack.’
    • ‘The problem with Adam's proposal, I think, is that it puts the onus on a small circle of people.’
    • ‘Americans are used to generous company pensions, but the onus is switching to the individual.’
    • ‘We have a duty to make sure that the roll is as accurate as possible, but the onus is on the elector to let us know.’
    • ‘He told us we had them worried and the onus was on them to change it, which would hopefully allow us more space at the other end.’
    • ‘However, the onus is on their director to see the broader picture once in a while.’
    • ‘If an employee is unhappy about the way they are being treated at work the onus is on them to take action by applying for a tribunal.’
    • ‘He said the use of retired teachers placed the onus on head teachers rigorously to check the quality of their work.’
    burden, responsibility, liability, obligation, duty, weight, load, charge, mantle, encumbrance
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Latin, literally ‘load or burden’.