1. DogFather
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    DogFather New Member

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    A word for 'consequence' and 'responsibility'

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DogFather, Nov 14, 2012.

    I'm hopeful that some word savant out there knows an English word that means something close to 'consequence' and 'responsibility' at the same time. I've tried online searches, but so far no luck. Any help?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Two different concepts. The first indicates a result while the latter indicates a cause. The only way that one thing can be both for the same event is a cycle, as in "the cycle of violence".
     
  3. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I agree with Ed. One word isn't going to cut it. It's more like a phrase you've need, and the closest I can think of, knowing nothing about your work or how you want to use it, would be something like "noblesse oblige" (If I've spelled it anywhere close to right). Basically the duties of nobles. He who is noble must act as a noble. In essence it's duty but contains within it a consequence, i.e. if you claim nobility but act like a savage, you can't really expect to be considered noble.

    You could also use "charter" as in a document or an understanding that links obligations with rewards, and similar words like contract.

    But I'd really need more information to work with.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I agree that to get those two specific ideas in one word with an explicit definition is gonna be tough, but there are words that have connotations similar to that. I've always thought of the word 'Duty' as having the idea that it's a responsibility, and if it isn't carried out there will be consequences. Also, depending on the context, the words like 'sacrifice' and 'obligation' could be used.

    Like others have noted, you aren't going to find a word that has both of those definitions, but you might find something with the right connotation. The problem with connotation is that it isn't always universal and is culturally influenced, as it is an Implied meaning rather than an Implicit one. Hope this helps!
     
  5. Berber
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    Berber Active Member

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    Accountable/accountability kind of embodies the two without directly defining them. If you are held accountable for something, it is your responsibility to do that thing properly or else face consequences.

    I also agree with Pheonix - anything that describes an obligation could sort of fit what you're looking for: duty, charge, commitment, or even a burden. Again, these words only imply the meaning you're looking for; they don't directly mean "consequence" or "responsibility."

    There isn't going to a singular word that meets your literal denotation.
     
  6. DogFather
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    DogFather New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Accountability is probably closest to what I was looking for so far. As I'm thinking of it, consequence is the result of an action. Responsibility could be the consequence, along with many other things, such as what follows a car accident. I might be responsible for someone's bills if the accident is my fault. So responsibility could be a consequence, but I was hoping for a word that would more literally combine the two.
     
  7. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    The closest I can fetch up is "blame". It addresses both responsibility and consequence, but because it's pretty personal, it might not work. Hope it does, though.
     
  8. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    Responsibility may or may not imply the person caused something.

    In one sense, Responsibility means an obligation (legal or moral), burden, or duty, whether the person assumed it by his actions or had it imposed on him through no action or fault of his own.
    -Jimmy was responsible for mowing the lawn.
    -We have a responsibility to alert others to dangers we see.
    -The boss made her responsible for tasks that were not in the job description.

    We sometimes hear "Who is responsible for this?" meaning "Who can we blame for this?" or "Who caused this?", but that is because of the assumption that the person who caused it has an obligation to mitigate the results or suffer punishment. They caused it and are therefore responsible for (have obligation to deal with) the consequences. Without that assumption, responsibility and causation are not linked.

    The OP is looking at the case where the person has the obligation as a result of their actions. I haven't come up with the perfect word or phrase to indicate both consequence and responsibility, although one may exist. I'd have to write "You did it and must deal with the consequences" but that's not elegant. I hope someone has a better way.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it would help to see the sentence you want to use it in, since context will determine what word is most apt...
     

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