oblige

verb
\ ə-ˈblīj \
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

accommodate, favor

Antonyms

disoblige

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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

But despite that drama, much of social media seemed happy to oblige with Ari's request. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Urged Fans to Ignore Kanye West and Drake's Feud and Listen to "Imagine" and Miley Cyrus," 14 Dec. 2018 However, Prince Charles was happy to oblige when Harry asked him to step in. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Charles Reportedly Framed a Photo of Him Walking Meghan Markle Down the Aisle," 6 Dec. 2018 Nosal, of the American Battle Monuments Commission, said the government was happy to oblige. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, "Twin brothers died side by side in World War II. Now, they’re finally buried side by side.," 20 June 2018 In her experience, Ms. Guest-Consales said that most are happy to oblige and usually know who have different areas of expertise. New York Times, "How to Hire a Quality Private Tour Guide," 17 May 2018 The bill obliges the state to recognise a representative body to negotiate on behalf of aboriginals and establishes a fund to help aboriginal communities prepare for the talks. The Economist, "Australia’s states offer to make treaties with aboriginals," 5 July 2018 The fine print in the loan contracts obliges customers to pay as much as an extra 20 percent of the amount owed to cover Mariner's attorney fees, and this has helped fund legal proceedings that are both voluminous and swift. Peter Whoriskey, courant.com, "Unsolicited checks can be a lifeline and an albatross," 2 July 2018 Another obliged, posting a QR code that translated to the n-word. NBC News, "Trolls spread hateful fake Starbucks coupon," 19 Apr. 2018 Antetokounmpo obliged, looking through two progressions on the inbound before dishing a pass to Middleton, who found some room near the sideline about 35 feet from the basket. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Celtics 113, Bucks 107: Milwaukee's magic fizzles out in overtime," 15 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for oblige

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for oblige

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

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More Definitions for oblige

oblige

verb

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 \
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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