oblig·​a·​to·​ry | \ ə-ˈbli-gə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce obligatory (audio) , ä- also ˈä-bli-gə- \

Definition of obligatory

1 : binding in law or conscience The ordinance made it obligatory that homeowners clear the snow from the sidewalks.
2 : relating to or enforcing an obligation a writ obligatory
3 : mandatory, required obligatory military service also : so commonplace as to be a convention, fashion, or cliché the obligatory death scene in opera The thriller included the obligatory chase scene.
4 : obligate sense 1 an obligatory biped

Other Words from obligatory

obligatorily \ ə-​ˌbli-​gə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce obligatory (audio) , ä-​ also  ˌä-​bli-​gə-​ \ adverb

Examples of obligatory in a Sentence

The training is obligatory for all personnel. This action movie includes the obligatory chase scenes.
Recent Examples on the Web But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. . . . Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 23 Mar. 2022 As editors entered filing past myriad masterpieces, many expressed relief that the French government has ruled the face mask to no longer be obligatory at fashion shows. Thomas Adamson, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2022 Doctor Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, mirrored the 33-year-old with matching hand-in-pocket poses—the obligatory stance of suit wearers—at the photo call. Alexis Gaskin, Glamour, 26 Apr. 2022 It'll be run as a trial, to implement the obligatory system in January 2023. Julia Buckley, CNN, 22 Apr. 2022 Opponents also circulated an elementary-school photograph of her wearing the obligatory red kerchief of the Young Pioneers. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2022 Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Monday that obligatory self-isolation, usually for 10 days — which can be cut to seven days with a negative test — would be scrapped May 1 and replaced with a strong recommendation to isolate for five days. Geir Moulson, ajc, 6 Apr. 2022 Backers of obligatory vaccinations for adults backed off that idea this week, at least for now, after struggling to build enough support. Geir Moulson, ajc, 6 Apr. 2022 But Hackett stressed that his endorsement wasn’t just an obligatory commendation of a former colleague. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, 4 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obligatory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of obligatory

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obligatory

Middle English obligatorie, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French obligatorie, obligatoire, borrowed from Latin obligātōrius, from obligāre "to tie up, restrain by tying, place under a legal or moral constraint" + -tōrius, deverbal adjective suffix, originally forming derivatives from agent nouns ending in -tōr-, -tor — more at oblige

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The first known use of obligatory was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obligatory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obligatory. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for obligatory


oblig·​a·​to·​ry | \ ə-ˈblig-ə-ˌtōr-ē, ä-, -ˌtȯr- also ˈäb-li-gə- \

Medical Definition of obligatory

Other Words from obligatory

obligatorily \ ə-​ˌblig-​ə-​ˈtōr-​ə-​lē, ä-​, -​ˈtȯr-​ also ˌäb-​li-​gə-​ \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on obligatory

Nglish: Translation of obligatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obligatory for Arabic Speakers


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