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.

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 derives via Middle English and the Anglo-French obliger from Latin obligare ("to bind to"), a combination of ob- ("to or toward") and ligare ("to bind"), whereas obligate descends directly from obligatus, the Latin 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Theorists, of course, are more than happy to oblige. Anil Ananthaswamy, Scientific American, 18 Apr. 2022 The Málaga Festival launched in 1998; one year later, a law began to oblige Spanish broadcasters to invest 5% of their annual revenues in local and European films. Emiliano De Pablos, Variety, 24 Mar. 2022 Kailee was happy to take a short break and oblige the tiny pup. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Jan. 2022 Biden has been more than happy to oblige, despite the fact that, according to Cruz, the deal has no chance of either being ratified as a treaty or approved by legislation as required under the Constitution. Jimmy Quinn, National Review, 17 Mar. 2022 Many pastors, priests, lawyers and advocates are happy to oblige. Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2022 Other retailers also needed some place to eat, and Tommy was more than happy to oblige. Marc Bona, cleveland, 31 Jan. 2022 The Wolverines needed one of Washington’s spurts, and its 3-point shooters were happy to oblige. Michael Cohen, Detroit Free Press, 27 Jan. 2022 Most airlines will offer a food and hotel voucher and others will oblige requests for one to a passenger whose flight is canceled. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 27 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near oblige

obligatum

oblige

obligee

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblige. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for oblige

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, The Story of Dr. Dolittle
3 : to earn the gratitude of You will oblige me by coming early.

More from Merriam-Webster on oblige

Nglish: Translation of oblige for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblige for Arabic Speakers

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