Definition of obligation
1 : the action of obligating oneself to a course of action (as by a promise or vow)
2a : something (such as a formal contract, a promise, or the demands of conscience or custom) that obligates one to a course of action made an obligation to pay their children's college expensesb : a debt security (such as a mortgage or corporate bond)c : a commitment (as by a government) to pay a particular sum of money; also : an amount owed under such an obligation Unable to meet its obligations, the company went into bankruptcy.
3a : a condition or feeling of being obligated felt an obligation to voteb : a debt of gratitude returned the favor as an obligation
Examples of obligation in a sentence
She believes that all people have a moral obligation to defend human rights.
He argues that people in a community have certain obligations to each other.
She failed to fulfill her obligations as a parent.
First Known Use of obligation
OBLIGATION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of obligation for English Language Learners
: something that you must do because of a law, rule, promise, etc.
: something that you must do because it is morally right
OBLIGATION Defined for Kids
Definition of obligation for Students
1 : something a person must do because of the demands of a promise or contract Make sure you know your rights and obligations before you sign.
2 : something a person feels he or she must do : duty I can't go because of other obligations.
3 : a feeling of being indebted for an act of kindness Don't feel any obligation to return the favor.
Legal Definition of obligation
1 : a promise, acknowledgment, or agreement (as a contract) that binds one to a specific performance (as payment); also : the binding power of such an agreement or indication held that the amendment did not unconstitutionally impair the obligations of contracts — Davis v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., 521 N.W.2d 366 (1994)
2 : a debt security (as a corporate or government bond) collateralized debt obligation : a security backed by a pool of diversified securities that usually do not include mortgages collateralized loan obligation : a security backed by a pool of commercial loans collateralized mortgage obligation : a bond collateralized by a pool of mortgage obligations or pass-through securities and paid according to the maturity and amortization schedule of its class and not directly from the underlying obligations —called also CMO
3 : what one is obligated to do, satisfy, or fulfill: as a : a commitment to pay a particular amount of money does not create a debt, liability, or other obligation, legal or moral — State v. Florida Dev. Fin. Corp., 650 So. 2d 14 (1995); also : an amount owed in such a commitment b : a duty arising from law, contract, or morality had a legal obligation as an employer a contractual obligation
4 in the civil law of Louisiana : a relationship that binds one party to a performance (as a payment or transfer) or nonperformance for another party — see also contract, offense, quasi-offense Editor's note: An obligation under civil law may arise by operation of law, naturally, or by contract or other declaration of will. The elements of an obligation are: the parties, an object, the relationship by virtue of which one party is bound to perform for the other's benefit, and, in the case of conventional obligations, a cause. conditional obligation : an obligation that is dependent on an uncertain event conventional obligation : an obligation taking the form of a contract heritable obligation : an obligation that may be enforced by the successor of the obligee or against the successor of the obligor joint obligation 1 : an obligation binding different obligors to a performance for one obligee 2 : an obligation binding one obligor to a performance for different obligees Editor's note: In civil law, one of two or more obligors in a joint obligation is only liable for his or her portion of the performance. natural obligation : an obligation arising from moral duty that is implied but not enforceable by the law several obligation 1 : any of the obligations binding different obligors to separate performances for one obligee 2 : any of the obligations binding an obligor to separate performances for different obligees solidary obligation : an obligation under which any of two or more obligors can be held liable for the entire performance (as payment of a debt) Editor's note: Solidary obligation is similar to joint and several liability in common law.
Learn More about obligation
See words that rhyme with obligation Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obligation Spanish Central: Translation of obligation Nglish: Translation of obligation for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of obligation for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obligation
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