Definition of do duty as (or for) in English:

do duty as (or for)


  • Serve or act as a substitute for something else.

    ‘the rusting shack which did duty as the bridge’
    • ‘In China there is a single word which does duty for all these animals.’
    • ‘My first and second pacers weighed a hefty 200 gm (now doing duty as a paperweight - how the mighty are fallen!) and I had to clutch my chest with my hand while running!’
    • ‘The main tradition of our historical fiction has been rather homely and dour, with puritanism doing duty as the mother of necessity.’
    • ‘My new paint tubes are arranged in a neat arc, brushes and palette knife by their side, and an upturned white enamel plate ready to do duty as a palette until I can find an old one or buy new.’
    • ‘Today representational accounts of the mind run unencumbered by the need also to do duty as theories of knowledge.’
    • ‘It's an old joke that could do duty as an apt description of Irish-Scottish relations.’
    • ‘Anecdote dominates many chapters, with unreflective reportage frequently doing duty for examination.’
    • ‘Swear words are interwoven throughout military slang, doing duty for most parts of speech.’
    • ‘Wreaths made entirely of wired on pine cones wrapped with gingham ribbon look very good at this time of year and with a change of ribbon to something more glamorous will do duty for Christmas too.’
    • ‘Okay, Saturn is usually black and I suppose soldering wire might do duty as lead thread.’
    stand in for, fill in for, act as stand-in for, deputize for, act as deputy, substitute for, act as substitute for, take the place of, take over from, be a substitute for, cover for, replace, relieve, act in place of, do duty for, do a locum for, be a locum for, sit in for, understudy