oblige

verb
\ ə-ˈblīj How to pronounce oblige (audio) \
obliged; obliging

Definition of oblige

transitive verb

1 : to constrain by physical, moral, or legal force or by the exigencies of circumstance obliged to find a job felt obliged to share it with her
2a : to put in one's debt by a favor or service We are much obliged for your help.
b : to do a favor for always ready to oblige a friend

intransitive verb

: to do something as or as if as a favor When he was asked for advice, he obliged.

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Other Words from oblige

obliger noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for oblige

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for oblige

force, compel, coerce, constrain, oblige mean to make someone or something yield. force is the general term and implies the overcoming of resistance by the exertion of strength, power, or duress. forced to flee for their lives compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force. compelled to admit my mistake coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure. coerced into signing over the rights constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice. constrained by conscience oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty. felt obliged to go

Did You Know?

Oblige shares some similarities with its close relative obligate, but there are also differences. Oblige derived via Middle English and Anglo-French from Latin obligare ("to bind to"), a combination of ob- ("to or toward") and ligare ("to bind"), whereas obligate descended directly from the past participle of obligare. Both oblige and obligate are frequently used in their past participle forms to express a kind of legal or moral constraint. Obligated once meant "indebted for a service or favor," but today it typically means "required to do something because the law requires it or because it is the right thing to do." Obliged is now the preferred term for the sense that Southern author Flannery O'Connor used in a 1952 letter: "I would be much obliged if you would send me six copies."

Examples of oblige in a Sentence

The law obliges the government to release certain documents to the public. Her job obliges her to work overtime and on weekends. She's always ready to oblige her friends. “Thank you for your help.” “I'm happy to oblige.” They asked for food and he obliged with soup and sandwiches.
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Recent Examples on the Web The singer refused to oblige the authorities and a sting operation ensued. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "Lee Daniels’s Billie Holiday Movie Was Scooped Up in An 8-Figure Deal," 2 July 2020 Worse, perhaps, than being off for a block of time, is the intermittence that blended learning will oblige. David Zweig, Wired, "It’s Ridiculous to Treat Schools Like Covid Hot Zones," 24 June 2020 Businesses were all too eager to oblige them — to support individual liberties over continued precautions. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "Ayala: San Antonio has to let go of believing young aren’t at risk of coronavirus," 16 June 2020 Goethals and several officers took a knee to oblige the chanting crowd that filled a large plaza in front of the police station. Anna Bauman, SFChronicle.com, "Thousands pack streets of SF’s Mission District in sixth day of protests," 3 June 2020 With cabin fever set in, many people want to start traveling beyond Texas and luxury coach service Vonlane is ready to oblige. Sonia Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "Traveling just got easier with luxury coach Vonlane serving as your 'private jet' on wheels'," 5 June 2020 Every change cascaded through the social graph, redrawing the map and obliging Mainway to update ceaselessly. Barton Gellman, Wired, "Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network," 24 May 2020 Dozens obliged and shared photos of their quarantine buddies. cleveland, "Guidelines set during pandemic to help keep customers, staff safe as Weber’s marks its 90th season: A Place in the Sun," 18 May 2020 There are almost no fines, and police can only ask people to oblige. Thomas Erdbrinkand Christina Anderson, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Life has to go on’: How Sweden has faced the virus without a lockdown," 28 Apr. 2020

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

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First Known Use of oblige

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for oblige

Middle English obligen, oblischen "to impose on as a legal or moral duty, bind by oath or contract," borrowed from Anglo-French obliger, borrowed from Latin obligāre "to tie up, restrain by tying, assign, place under a legal or moral constraint, pledge," from ob- "toward, facing" + ligāre "to fasten, bind" — more at ob-, ligature

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Time Traveler for oblige

Time Traveler

The first known use of oblige was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblige. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for oblige

oblige

verb
How to pronounce oblige (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oblige

: to force or require (someone or something) to do something because of a law or rule or because it is necessary
: to do something that someone has asked you to do : to do a favor for (someone)

oblige

verb
\ ə-ˈblīj How to pronounce oblige (audio) \
obliged; obliging

Kids Definition of oblige

1 : force entry 2 sense 1, compel The soldiers were obliged to retreat.
2 : to do a favor for or do something as a favor “… I don't mind doing what I can—just to oblige you …”— Hugh Lofting, Dr. Dolittle
3 : to earn the gratitude of You will oblige me by coming early.

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More from Merriam-Webster on oblige

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oblige

Spanish Central: Translation of oblige

Nglish: Translation of oblige for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblige for Arabic Speakers

Comments on oblige

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