noblesse oblige was our Word of the Day on 06/06/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of noblesse oblige in a Sentence
He was raised to have a strong sense of noblesse oblige.
Recent Examples of noblesse oblige from the Web
Much more significant than a one-time $50-million noblesse oblige gesture.
Equality of opportunity has produced a new meritocratic aristocracy that has all the aloofness of the old aristocracy with none of its sense of noblesse oblige.
Drawn by what Andreessen calls noblesse oblige, Whitman recognized an opportunity to revive the faltering legacy of the company that birthed SiliconValley: Hewlett-Packard, founded in 1939 in a Palo Alto garage.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'noblesse oblige.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
noblesse oblige Has French Origins
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
First Known Use: 1837See Words from the same year
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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