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
Full Definition of noblesse oblige
: the obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth
Examples of noblesse oblige in a sentence
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 of noblesse oblige
French, literally, nobility obligates
First Known Use: 1837
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