Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

noblesse oblige

play
noun no·blesse oblige \nō-ˈbles-ə-ˈblēzh\

Simple Definition of noblesse oblige

  • : the idea that people who have high social rank or wealth should be helpful and generous to people of lower rank or to people who are poor

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of noblesse oblige

  1. :  the obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth

Examples of noblesse oblige in a sentence

  1. He was raised to have a strong sense of noblesse oblige.



Did You Know?

In French, "noblesse oblige" means literally "nobility obligates." French speakers transformed the phrase into a noun, which English speakers picked up in the 19th century. Then, as now, "noblesse oblige" referred to the unwritten obligation of people from a noble ancestry to act honorably and generously to others. Later, by extension, it also came to refer to the obligation of anyone who is in a better position than others - due, for example, to high office or celebrity - to act respectably and responsibly.

Origin and Etymology of noblesse oblige

French, literally, nobility obligates


First Known Use: 1837


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up noblesse oblige? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not forbidden by law

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

brumal vernal hiemal estival
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ