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

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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 Falcons first-year general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith seem willing to oblige, especially since the Falcons only had $285,000 in salary-cap space as of Friday morning. BostonGlobe.com, 29 May 2021 The Fed’s membership doesn’t oblige it to adopt any policies, and Mr. Powell has stayed away from the plans proposed by other banks. Simon Clark, WSJ, 16 May 2021 But the final agreement didn’t oblige developing countries to reduce emissions. Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2021 Their search for Chewbacca precludes them from performing, but Luke’s cousin, Mark Hamill, is eager to oblige. Donald Liebenson, Vulture, 19 Feb. 2021 Most people don’t like being told to go fly a kite, but Saturday morning in Oswego, Emilee French of Yorkville was more than happy to oblige. David Sharos, chicagotribune.com, 18 Apr. 2021 But his ministry is proposing legislation that would oblige unvaccinated employees whose work involves contact with the public to be tested for the virus every two days. New York Times, 18 Feb. 2021 The technology to reduce carbon-intensity of New Mexico vehicles is left unsaid because the regulation would oblige fuel producers to work this out for themselves. Paul J. Gessing, National Review, 12 Feb. 2021 Griffin appeared to lean into the heel role as the game went on, and the crowd began to oblige by booing him. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, 27 Mar. 2021

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

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblige. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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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 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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