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 President Donald Trump proposed eliminating the MBDA, but Congress did not oblige. Lydia Depillis, ProPublica, "Black-Owned Firms Are Less Likely to Receive All of the Financing They Apply for Than Firms With Non-Black Owners," 5 Mar. 2021 His old manager Ron Gardenhire was more than happy to oblige. Jules Posner, Forbes, "What Will The Detroit Tigers Do With All Of These Switch Hitters?," 25 Feb. 2021 The bill would also oblige voters to show photo identification when casting their ballots, a requirement that political scientists have found disproportionately reduces turnout among minority and young voters. The Economist, "Daily chart Republicans introduce a torrent of new laws to restrict voting," 24 Feb. 2021 But many international legal scholars say the Geneva Conventions oblige Israel, as an occupying power, to provide for Palestinians — a responsibility that trumps the terms of the Oslo Accords, Procter said. NBC News, "Israel shines as coronavirus success story, while neighbors in Gaza are left without vaccines," 9 Feb. 2021 All-American who was once the young guy stepping into a veteran secondary, was happy to oblige. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s Lathan Ransom grows into big role for national championship game: Nathan Baird’s observations," 10 Jan. 2021 The European Union cannot oblige member states to adopt the SmartFish innovations, and their success will depend on market demand. Giovanni Prati, CNN, "How smart nets and scanners could keep more fish in the sea," 19 Nov. 2020 But this shouldn’t oblige us to see all art through the filter of present-day fixations. Washington Post, "Manfredi’s painting of Cupid being beaten invites a modern interpretation," 4 Nov. 2020 Meanwhile, the PBoC and China’s banking regulator jointly released new draft regulations on online lending on Monday, which will oblige Ant to cap loans at either Rmb300,000 ($44,843) or one-third of a borrower’s annual pay — whichever is lower. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Note: Betting on a Biden Binge," 3 Nov. 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

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

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Last Updated

12 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblige. Accessed 10 Apr. 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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Comments on oblige

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