early 14c., "minor ecclesiastical court officer" (mid-13c. as a surname), from Old French oficial "law officer; bishop's representative" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin officialis "attendant to a magistrate, public official," noun use of officialis (adj.) "of or belonging to duty, service, or office" (see official (adj.)). From mid-14c. as "a domestic retainer in a household;" the meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty, one holding a civil appointment" is recorded from 1550s.
c. 1300, obligacioun, "a binding pledge, commitment to fulfill a promise or meet conditions of a bargain," from Old French obligacion "obligation, duty, responsibility" (early 13c.) and directly from Latin obligationem (nominative obligatio) "an engaging or pledging," literally "a binding" (but rarely used in this sense), noun of action from past-participle stem of obligare "to bind, bind up, bandage," figuratively "put under obligation" (see oblige). The notion is of binding with promises or by law or duty.
The meaning "that which one is bound or obliged to do, especially by moral or legal claims a duty" is from c. 1600. That of "state or fact of being bound or constrained by gratitude to requite benefits, moral indebtedness," also is from c. 1600. Related: Obligational.
1727, originally in military use, "a list showing the turn or rotation of duty or service of those who relieve or succeed one another," from Dutch rooster "table, list," a transferred use, originally "gridiron," from Middle Dutch roosten "to roast" (see roast (v.)). So called probably from the grid of lines drawn on a paper to make a list. By 1858 in police jargon; the general sense of "list or table of names of persons" without regard to rotation of duty is by 1881.
"one's skill, talent, or calling," 1792, from French métier "trade, profession," from Old French mestier "task, affair, service, function, duty," from Gallo-Roman *misterium, from Latin ministerium "office, service," from minister "servant" (see minister (n.)).
early 15c., recordour, "chief legal officer of a city," whose duty is to register writings or transactions, from Anglo-French recordour (early 14c.), Old French recordeor "witness; storyteller; minstrel," from Medieval Latin recordator, from Latin recordari "remember" (see record (v.)). The meaning "registering apparatus" is from 1873.
"one who forsakes cause, duty, party, or friends," 1630s, agent noun from desert (v.). Especially "soldier or sailor who departs from position without leave and without intent to return" (1660s).