active

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on active duty

in battle or ready to go into battle. (Military.) The soldier was on active duty for ten months. That was a long time to be on active duty.
See also: active, duty

active duty

Full-time service, as in Julian is 81, but he still comes to the office every day and is very much on active duty . This term comes from the military, where it stands in opposition to reserve, which refers to troops still in the military but not actively engaged. It is occasionally transferred to civilian matters as well. [First half of 1800s]
See also: active, duty
References in classic literature ?
Mulcahy had not taken into account the possibility of being sent on active service.
There were many breaks in his education, caused by the migratory habits of his tribe, but even when removed from his books his active brain continued to search out the mysteries of his fascinating avocation.
When he turned to depart from the active young men, who, back to consciousness, were observing him with bright, quick, wild-animal eyes, Kwaque followed so close at his heels as to step upon them and make him stumble.
When I saw her, as long as two years ago, Lady Malkinshaw's favorite delusion was that she was the most active woman of seventy-five in all England.
From such special adaptations, the similarity of the larvae or active embryos of allied animals is sometimes much obscured; and cases could be given of the larvae of two species, or of two groups of species, differing quite as much, or even more, from each other than do their adult parents.
At home he is said to have suffered from the coldness or more active antipathy of his three daughters, which is no great cause for wonder if we must credit the report that he compelled them to read aloud to him in foreign languages of which he had taught them the pronunciation but not the meaning.
Had he believed that a union was necessary to the happiness of both, or of either, or had he known how fervently I loved her, he would have acted differently; but seeing me so calm and cool, he would not for the world disturb my philosophy; and though refraining entirely from any active opposition to the match, he would yet do nothing to bring it about, and would much rather take the part of prudence, in aiding us to overcome our mutual predilections, than that of feeling, to encourage them.
This active principle may perhaps be said to constitute the most essential barrier between us and our neighbours the brutes; for if there be some in the human shape who are not under any such dominion, I choose rather to consider them as deserters from us to our neighbours; among whom they will have the fate of deserters, and not be placed in the first rank.
He was well built, active, strong-jawed, good-natured and rising.
Now Nietzsche believed that the first or the noble-morality conduced to an ascent in the line of life; because it was creative and active.
What is the secret mesmerism which friendship possesses, and under the operation of which a person ordinarily sluggish, or cold, or timid, becomes wise, active, and resolute, in another's behalf?
Though turned seventy, I possess an active memory, and legs to correspond.
The pause was only momentary, however; and long before the drowsy eyes of the sentinel, who overlooked the spot where she stood, had time to catch a glimpse of her active form, it had glided along the bottom, and stood on the summit of the nearest eminence.
Many of this class had deserted their usual occupations on the Saturday morning; some had been seen by their employers active in the tumult; others knew they must be suspected, and that they would be discharged if they returned; others had been desperate from the beginning, and comforted themselves with the homely proverb, that, being hanged at all, they might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
Philip winced under this allusion to his unfitness for active sports, and he answered almost peevishly,--