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

And fortunately for this sport, which basically gets one shot a year to be relevant on a national level, Baffert is more than happy to oblige. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Triple Crown success has made trainer Bob Baffert a crossover star," 7 June 2018 Treading the path of many business people who enjoy hearing themselves referred to as presidential timber, Mr. Schultz’s way ahead is clear: spend the next umpteen months trying to extend the boomlet that obliging scribes started this week. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Starbucks Chief Won’t Stay Hot," 5 June 2018 Sacramento just whiffed by voting down a plan obliging cities to build more dwelling units. San Francisco Chronicle, "Two Bay Area houses underline the housing crisis," 20 Apr. 2018 The team obliged and added Wilson to the competition. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Alex Wilson headed back to Detroit Tigers' bullpen," 9 Mar. 2018 Without such a border, the whole of the UK would be obliged to have the same status as Northern Ireland – fully in the EU customs union and single market – which would prevent London from signing its own trade deals with other nations. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "As clock ticks down, Britain finally reveals its plan for Brexit. What now?," 11 July 2018 According to GW Pharmaceuticals, in 90 days the DEA will be obliged to change the classification of CBD as a schedule 1 drug, because a government agency has approved it for medical use. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Why the FDA's Approval of a Cannabis-Derived Drug Could Change the Future of Medical Marijuana," 26 June 2018 And the All-American second baseman was of course happy to oblige despite the his 1-for-5 outing in Sunday’s defeat. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Longhorns’ season on brink," 18 June 2018 From the first Avengers onward, each single movie has been obliged to carry a narrative and expository burden that can threaten to eclipse the film's discrete purpose. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "In Sheer Scope, Avengers: Infinity War Is an Unreplicable Success," 26 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, from Anglo-French obliger, from Latin obligare, literally, to bind to, from ob- toward + ligare to bind — more at ligature

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Statistics for oblige

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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