Definition of noblesse oblige
: the obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth
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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 and Etymology of noblesse oblige
French, literally, nobility obligates
First Known Use: 1837
NOBLESSE OBLIGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of noblesse oblige for English Language Learners
: 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
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