Perhaps you request something of someone, and he or she replies with the phrase “duly noted“. That person is communicating that he or she understood what you said and will follow through on your request, but what does “duly” in the phrase “duly noted” actually mean? It may not be as abstract as it seems on the surface.
“Duly” is actually just an adverbial form of the commonly used adjective “due”. When something is “due”, that means it is to be done in a punctual and correct manner. When saying something is “duly noted”, there one is announcing that the information has been correctly and accurately recorded. What is interesting is that the word “duly” is most commonly thought of or used in this context of “duly noted”, but in reality this use of the word is on a small fraction of how it can actually be used in the English language.
“Duly” is very specifically defined as “in accordance with what is required or appropriate” or as “following proper procedure or arrangement”. An example might be a report card that a student takes home that night to have duly signed by his or her parents and returned to the teacher the next day. Synonyms of “duly” therefore include appropriately, properly, correctly, fittingly, and suitably. “Duly” has an undertone of correctness but also one of timeliness. In this context, “duly” can come to mean “punctually”, “on time”, or “in a timely manner”. This tiny English word can have many applications.