Part of speech: noun

A burden or responsibility.

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Usage examples "onus":

  1. The great onus of the whole affair, however, as made to appear in the narrative, was not the sacrifice of a human life under such circumstances, but that the act should have been committed on Good Friday! - "The Story of Malta", Maturin M. Ballou.
  2. But when she heard him, as she put it, " telling on her," laying bare to her mother all the walks they had taken together, visits to restaurants and rambles through the streets and the parks, what he had said to her on this occasion and on that, and her remarks on such and such a matter, she could not visualize him save as a malignant and uncultivated person; and when he tacitly suggested that she was as eager for matrimony as he was, and so put upon her the horrible onus of rejecting him before a second person, she closed her mind and her ears against him. - "Mary, Mary", James Stephens Commentator: Padraic Colum.
  3. If the Queen's players were then performing at the Theatre, under the management of Burbage, it is most unlikely that the " chiefest of her Highnes' players"- who informed Fleetwood that the owner of the Theatre was a " stubborne fellow," and advised that he be sent for and " bounde"- would have given advice and information so unfriendly to their own manager, and there cannot be the slightest doubt that Burbage was " the owner" of the Theatre from 1576 to 1596. It is apparent that the leader of the Queen's company was willing that the onus of the disturbances should be placed upon the Theatre rather than upon the Curtain, where the Queen's players were evidently performing at this time- Lord Arundel's company temporarily occupying the Theatre, Lord Hunsdon's company being at that time upon a provincial tour. - "Shakespeare's Lost Years in London, 1586-1592", Arthur Acheson.