Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms, Wikipedia.


Vigilant activity; attentiveness; or care, of which there are infinite shades, from the slightest momentary thought to the most vigilant anxiety. Attentive and persistent in doing a thing; steadily applied; active; sedulous; laborious; unremitting; untiring. The attention and care required of a person in a given situation; the opposite of Negligence.

There may be a high degree of diligence, a common degree of diligence, and a slight degree of diligence, with their corresponding degrees of negligence. Common or ordinary diligence is that degree of diligence which persons generally exercise in respect to their own concerns; high or great diligence is, of course, extraordinary diligence, or that which very prudent persons take of their own concerns; and low or slight diligence is that which persons of less than common prudence, or indeed of any prudence at all, take of their own concerns.

Special diligence is the skill that a good businessperson exercises in his or her specialty. It is more highly regarded than ordinary diligence or the diligence of a nonspecialist in a given set of circumstances.


n. reasonable care or attention to a matter, which is good enough to avoid a claim of negligence, or is a fair attempt (as in due diligence in a process server's attempt to locate someone).


(Care), noun absorption of mind, active application, active attention, active study, active thought, advertence, advertency, alertness, application, attention, attention to detail, carefulness, caution, check-up, circumspection, close application, close attention, close study, close thought, concern, consideration, deep application, deep attention, deep study, deep thought, deliberate application, deliberate attention, delibbrate study, deliberate thought, diligent application, diliient attention, diligent study, diligent thought, diligentia, earnestness, exactitude, exactness, exclusive application, exclusive attention, exclusive study, exclusive thought, foresight, guard, heed, heedfulness, industria, inquisitive attention, inspection, intense application, innense study, intense thought, intentness, meticulousness, mindfulness, minute application, minute attention, minute study, minute thought, minuteness, observation, painstaking, particularity, pedantry, preparedness, profound application, profound attention, profound study, profound thought, prudence, rapt attention, readiness, review, scrutiny, seriousness, single-mindedness, studiousness, study, thoroughgoingness, thoroughness, undivided attention, utmost care, vigilance, wakefulness, wariness, watchfulness, whole attention, whole mind
Associated concepts: due diligence, lack of diligence, ordiiary diligence, reasonable diligence, utmost diligence


(Perseverance), noun application, ardor, assiduity, assiduousness, constancy, continuance, devotedness, devotion, doggedness, earnestness, firmness of purpose, fixity of purpose, habitual deeotion, indefatigability, industriousness, insistence, intrepidity, meticulosity, patience, persistence, persistency, persistent exertion, pertinacity, relentlessness, resolution, restlessness, sedulity, singleness of purpose, staying power, steadiness, steady application, strength of will, stubbornness, tenaciousness, tenacity, tirelessness, undivided attention, vigilence, vigor, zeal, zealousness
Associated concepts: diligence in prosecution
See also: activity, caution, dispatch, effort, industry, tenacity, work


1 the degree of care required in a given situation. Often encountered in the phrase due diligence which denotes a defence to many statutory crimes and which also denotes the process by which a purchaser of or an investor in a company investigates the target. To this end accountants, solicitors and other professionals may need to be instructed.
2 in Scotland, the body of law relating to the enforcement of obligations.

DILIGENCE, contracts. The doing things in proper time.
     2. It may be divided into three degrees, namely: ordinary diligence, extraordinary diligence, and slight diligence. It is the reverse of negligence. (q.v.) Under that article is shown what degree of negligence, or want of diligence, will make a party to a contract responsible to the other. Vide Story, Bailm. Index h.t.; Ayl. Pand. 113 1 Miles, Rep. 40.

DILIGENCE. In Scotland, there are certain forms of law, whereby a creditor endeavors to make good his payment, either by affecting the person of his debtor, or by securing the subjects belonging to him from alienation, or by carrying the property of these subjects to himself. They are either real or personal.
     2. Real diligence is that which is proper to heritable or real rights,. and of this kind there are two sorts: 1. Inhibitions. 2. Adjudication, which the law has substituted in the place of apprising.
     3. Personal diligence is that by which the person of the debtor may be secured, or his personal estate affected. Ersk. Pr. L. Scotl. B. 2, t. 11, s. 1.

References in classic literature ?
In the meantime, he desired "I would go on with my utmost diligence to learn their language, because he was more astonished at my capacity for speech and reason, than at the figure of my body, whether it were covered or not;" adding, "that he waited with some impatience to hear the wonders which I promised to tell him.
We met here with new delays; the fleet that was to transport us did not appear, the patriarch lost all patience, and his zeal so much affected the commander at Diou, that he undertook to equip a vessel for us, and pushed the work forward with the utmost diligence.
Mine," replied Don Quixote, "is to be of service to you, so much so that I had resolved not to quit these mountains until I had found you, and learned of you whether there is any kind of relief to be found for that sorrow under which from the strangeness of your life you seem to labour; and to search for you with all possible diligence, if search had been necessary.
But what with wrestling bouts and bouts with quarter-staves, and wandering minstrels, there came up so many other things to talk about, that the reward was forgotten for the nonce, and only the Foresters and Sheriff's men watched the gates with diligence, the Sheriff indeed spurring them to effort by offers of largess.
War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perserverance, by time, and by practice.
Go to the diligence office and see if you can send for pates; and I want shrimps from the Brillante.
At three tomorrow the diligence will start for Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you.
It appears to me that the news you bear is worth the trouble of a little diligence.
There will not be the smallest occasion for your coming to town again; therefore stay quiet at Longbourn, and depend on my diligence and care.
For this purpose, they set off with the first appearance of grass on the Atlantic frontier and push with all diligence for the mountains.
I gazed often, and always with delight, from the window of the diligence (these, be it remembered, were not the days of trains and railroads).
They returned at night without success, though they had used the utmost diligence.