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 Each deserved an opportunity to pitch elsewhere for a better team, and the Orioles were happy to oblige considering who’s left behind. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Five things we learned from the Orioles’ moves at the 2020 MLB trade deadline," 1 Sep. 2020 Channeling his hero, Paul mustered the courage to ask to hold it, and the Hall’s collections team was happy to oblige. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Memorabilia memories: Ted Williams edition," 30 Aug. 2020 But ByteDance’s legal team was eager for a fight, and Zhang was happy to oblige, one of the people familiar with the discussions said. Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg.com, "Microsoft, Walmart Offer Joint TikTok Bid, Vying With Oracle," 29 Aug. 2020 Prosecutors declined to name the target, but Musk was happy to oblige. Frank Bajak, Star Tribune, "Tesla targeted in failed ransomware extortion scheme," 28 Aug. 2020 But ByteDance’s legal team was eager for a fight, and Zhang was happy to oblige, one of the people familiar with the discussions said. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Walmart and Microsoft offer joint TikTok bid, vying with Oracle," 27 Aug. 2020 Arab states in the Gulf Cooperation Council tend to view such massive purchases of American weaponry as informal defense pacts that oblige the U.S. to protect them militarily. Trita Parsi, The New Republic, "The Israel-U.A.E. Deal Puts the “Forever” in “Forever War”," 20 Aug. 2020 Officer Miguel Deras was happy to oblige, pulling out his phone and showing his colleague an explicit photo of the young victim. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Robert Gehrke: The University of Utah’s latest failure in the Lauren McCluskey murder should lead to these actions," 10 Aug. 2020 These races oblige like no others with thousands of feet of descent. John Meyer, The Know, "The 20 best Colorado running races of 2020, from scenic 5Ks to a 62-mile ultra," 28 Feb. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

7 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblige. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for oblige

oblige

verb
How to pronounce oblige (audio)

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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