For example, if you had better response ability you would receive more difficult tasks. And if you are responsible you are response able, or able to respond.

1 Answer 1


No, it did not.

Etymologically, the word "responsibility" comes from an obsolete French word "responsible", itself coming from a Latin word "responsabilis", the past participle of "respondere", meaning "to respond". The word did not come to imply any measure of accountability until the middle 1600s.

Etymonline / Responsibility

The suffix "-ability", on the other hand, comes from the Latin use of "-abilitas" onto an adjective to form a noun.

Etymonline / -ability

The word ability, though, is surprisingly not derived from this use of the "-abilitas" suffix in Latin. It comes from the Old French "ableté", meaning literally "ability" or "capability".

Etymonline / Ability

  • So I was sort of on the right track. :) I just didn't go back far enough.
    – user194108
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:53
  • When researching etymology, it's useful to keep in mind that suffixes and prefixes aren't always etymologically linked to similar (sometimes even identical) words. You should always check prefixes and suffixes independently of the root for this reason. :)
    – R Mac
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:55
  • As Dan Bron has said here, 'Answering off-topic questions on the ... site sends the wrong message to the user-base.' This question is general reference. Aug 31, 2016 at 17:58
  • 1
    The main explanation of on-topic/off-topic is this Help Center page: What topics can I ask about here? Edwin Ashworth and I voted to close this question as off-topic using the following close reason: "Please include the research you've done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic."
    – herisson
    Aug 31, 2016 at 21:19
  • 2
    Got it, thank you for the links. I will keep that in mind. A dictionary entry would not answer this question by itself because dictionary etymologies tend to not be so specific or elaborate, but I see etymonline.com is listed as a resource. Cheers, I'll defer to commenting on similar questions with a link to the Resources page in the future.
    – R Mac
    Aug 31, 2016 at 21:28

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