from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Payable immediately or on demand.
  • adjective Owed as a debt; owing.
  • adjective In accord with right, convention, or courtesy; appropriate.
  • adjective Meeting special requirements; sufficient.
  • adjective Expected or scheduled, especially appointed to arrive.
  • adjective Expected to give birth.
  • adjective Anticipated; looked for.
  • adjective Expecting or ready for something as part of a normal course or sequence.
  • adjective Capable of being attributed.
  • noun Something owed or deserved.
  • noun A charge or fee for membership, as in a club or organization.
  • adverb Straight; directly.
  • adverb Archaic Duly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To endue; endow.
  • Directly; exactly: only with reference to the points of the compass: as, a due east course.
  • Owed; payable as an obligation; that may be demanded” as a debt: as, the interest falls due next month.
  • Owing by right of circumstances or condition; that ought to be given or rendered; proper to be conferred or devoted: as, to receive one with due honor or courtesy.
  • According to requirement or need; suitable to the case; determinate; settled; exact: as, he arrived in due time or course.
  • That is to be expected or looked for; under engagement as to time; promised: as, the train is due at noon; he is due in New York tomorrow.
  • Owing; attributable, as to a cause or origin; assignable: followed by to: as, the delay was due to an accident.
  • In law:
  • Owing, irrespective of whether the time of payment has arrived: as, money is said to be due to creditors although not yet payable.
  • Presently payable; already matured: as, a note is said to be due on the third day of grace.
  • noun That which is owed; that which is required by an obligation of any kind, as by contract, by law, or by official, social, or religious relations, etc.; a debt; an obligation.
  • noun Specifically
  • noun Any toll, tribute, fee, orother legal exaction: as, custora-house dues; excise dues.
  • noun Right; just title.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun That which is owed; debt; that which one contracts to pay, or do, to or for another; that which belongs or may be claimed as a right; whatever custom, law, or morality requires to be done; a fee; a toll.
  • noun Right; just title or claim.
  • transitive verb obsolete To endue.
  • adverb Directly; exactly.
  • adjective Owed, as a debt; that ought to be paid or done to or for another; payable; owing and demandable.
  • adjective Justly claimed as a right or property; proper; suitable; becoming; appropriate; fit.
  • adjective Such as (a thing) ought to be; fulfilling obligation; proper; lawful; regular; appointed; sufficient; exact
  • adjective Appointed or required to arrive at a given time.
  • adjective Owing; ascribable, as to a cause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Owed or owing
  • adjective Appropriate.
  • adjective Scheduled; expected.
  • adjective Having reached the expected, scheduled, or natural time
  • adverb used with compass directions Directly; exactly.
  • noun Deserved acknowledgment.
  • noun A membership fee.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective scheduled to arrive
  • adverb directly or exactly; straight
  • adjective suitable to or expected in the circumstances
  • adjective capable of being assigned or credited to
  • noun a payment that is due (e.g., as the price of membership)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French deu, past participle of devoir, to owe, from Latin dēbēre; see ghabh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French deu ("due"), past participle of devoir ("to owe"), from Latin debere ("to owe"), from de ("from") + habere ("to have")


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  • A syntactically unusual adjective in that it can take a noun phrase complement ('We are due a refund'). This suggests it is actually a preposition. In fact, one of the tests for preposition vs adjective shows it is both, in different senses. The test is that when an adjective heads a preposed adjunct ('Afraid of the dark, she . . .') it has to be predicated of the following subject, but with prepositions it doesn't have to ('Ahead of her in the dark, she noticed . . .')

    When 'due' means 'owed' it is an adjective because it requires predication of the subject:

    Due a £1000 tax refund, we can finally afford that new sofa.

    * Due a £1000 tax refund, that new sofa looks like a bargain.

    But when it means 'because of' it is a preposition because it doesn't:

    Due to a £1000 tax refund, that new sofa looks like a bargain.

    (I'd never understood Fowler's condemnation of one to-him recent use of 'due', and just now I realized that this is probably it, the non-predicated use, so I must go back and read that bit in Modern English Usage to see if by George I've got it.)

    Note that preposition 'due' requires a following PP headed by 'to'. Adjective 'due' can also be followed by a 'to'-PP: 'the refund/respect due to us'.

    July 12, 2009