Have you heard or seen the phrase duly noted recently and wondered what it meant? This article will define the expression and walk you through the ways in which it can be used—as this common saying can be spoken or written straightforwardly or sarcastically. Let’s dig in.
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To define this popular phrase of the English language, let’s first look at the meaning of each word that comprises it individually.
Duly is an adverb broadly meaning in due time or in a due manner or degree, with due (duly’s corresponding adjective) meaning appropriate, adequate, satisfactory, or justified. Duly is also defined as properly or fittingly. To break it down a bit further, duly means to follow proper procedure, to do something in a proper or correct way at the right time. It means that everything is on the up and up and in strict accordance with what is needed, required, and appropriate in a given setting or situation. Another way to look at duly is as what is expected—what is predictable. Here are some example sentences:
The politician was duly elected. Make sure that your contract has been duly signed by all the necessary parties. The attorney duly executed his client’s last will and testament. He recognized his mistake and duly apologized to those he had hurt.
Noted is a verb, specifically a transitive verb, meaning to take notice or observe, or to somehow preserve or record, often in writing. (A transitive verb is a verb that requires a direct object. For example, bring is a transitive verb. You cannot say, “Please bring.” You must say, “Please bring X, Y, or Z.” In cases of transitive verbs, objects complete the verbs’ actions.) Take note of these example sentences using noted:
The child’s mother noted that he was always cranky just before a nap. The detective noted every detail of the eye-witnesses’s account of the mugging. She noted the names of each and every party attendee so that she could write them all thank you messages. I noted the day’s exciting events in my diary entry.
Taken together, then, the adverbial phrase duly noted means that something has been appropriately and correctly observed and/or recorded. In a formal or official instance—like a business or legal setting—duly noted is used to indicate that a thing (say, a proposal or document) will receive proper consideration in an appropriate amount of time, which is most often at a later date. Using the phrase is an acknowledgement that a statement, thought, topic, idea, etc. is relevant and justified. At least, it can mean that.
Typically in less formal settings, the phrase can be used sarcastically or ironically. In this case, it’s actually used to dismiss a topic, idea, statement, or thought—to acknowledge it but to deem it irrelevant and unimportant. Most often, it is used as a response when a person feels insulted by another’s suggestion or implication.
For example, a popular meme shows the surly, cantankerous cartoon cat Garfield saying, with a wide smile across his face, “Your opinion is duly noted,” all the while throwing the “noted opinion,” which is written on a piece of paper, right into a trash can. To use duly noted facetiously is to use it in an opposite manner as the phrase is intended: to say that a thing does not warrant any attention.
Because the phrase can be used either literally or ironically, if you see the expression written or hear it spoken, it’s important to pay attention to context to ensure that you understand the manner in which it is being used and the intended meaning of the writer or speaker.
Here are some example sentences using duly noted, with the intended meaning clarified in the parenthesis:
The management team duly noted the proposed change from the committee. (straightforward, literal meaning)
Her mom harped on her about the length of her skirt. To get her off her back, she responded with an eye roll, “Duly noted, mom!” (ironic usage)
The crowd’s objections were duly noted by the speaker. (straightforward)
Common Misspellings of Duly Noted
Whether it is intended more formally with its straightforward meaning or ironically to dismiss an idea or opinion, it’s important when writing the expression to spell it correctly. Don’t make these mistakes when writing duly noted:
Dully noted: When spelled correctly, the phrase duly noted has only one l, not two. With two, the first word becomes dully, which means lacking sharpness or luster, sluggish, or boring. As a phrase, dully noted doesn’t work or make sense.
Dually noted: Dually noted can also be a wrong spelling of duly noted. Dually means in two ways, twice/double, in a double capacity, or composed of two parts. Therefore, duallynoted conveys that something has been noted twice or in two different ways. If that is the writer’s intended meaning, then this is the correct phrase and spelling. Usually, however, if you see dually noted written, it is a misspelling of duly noted.
Duelly noted: This is yet another common misspelling of duly noted. Although duel is a real word, meaning a conflict or quarrel between two people, or even opposing ideas, duelly is not a dictionary-recognized term or form of duel. If you see duelly noted written, it is always an inaccurate spelling of duly noted.
Synonyms for Duly Noted
There are a variety of words and expressions you can use in place of duly noted. Although some are near-synonyms, in that their meaning may be more similar than exactly identical to the phrase they are replacing, they are still appropriate choices if you need a different option than duly noted when writing or speaking. A thesaurus can reveal more options in addition to:
Officially recorded / documented
Took note / note taken
Taken into consideration
At the proper time
There are also a wide selection of synonyms for duly as well, including:
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For the past 15 years, I've dedicated my career to words and language, as a writer, editor, and communications specialist and as a language arts educator. I'm excited to explore all things English with you and The Word Counter!
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