Definition of oblige
- obliged to find a job
- felt obliged to share it with her
- We are much obliged for your help.
- always ready to oblige a friend
- When he was asked for advice, he obliged.
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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.
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.
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."
: 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)
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