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

accommodate, favor

Antonyms

disoblige

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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

Merkel has clearly suffered a severe blow to her authority from the way she was obliged to suffer Seehofer’s threats and insults. Chris Cottrell, The Christian Science Monitor, "Immigration deal saves German government, points to European future," 9 July 2018 Now that her debt is fully repaid, there is nothing obliging the Iron Bank to support Cersei if Daenerys should burn down King’s Landing and win the Iron Throne. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Season 8: 18 Fan Theories to Know," 18 Mar. 2019 Three of her four sons — David, Steve and Fred — were on hand the other morning to oblige. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF woman is well into her 2nd century," 20 Jan. 2018 The Frenchman seemed only too happy to oblige and this seemingly small gesture summed up a career which has been built upon creating memories for fans that will last a lifetime. SI.com, "PHOTO: Arsene Wenger Signs off at Arsenal With Wonderful Gesture Following 5-0 Over Burnley," 8 May 2018 Fairfield University Art Museum, which opened in 2010 and had a relatively small permanent collection, was happy to oblige. Daniel Grant, WSJ, "Art Donors Increasingly Look to University Museums," 10 Feb. 2019 All children of a certain age in their Uighur district were obliged to attend boarding school, Adil said. Yanan Wang And Dake Kang, Fox News, "China distances children from families to subdue Muslim west," 20 Sep. 2018 However, there is no rule that a US president is obliged to return a salute, which is considered a sign of mutual respect. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "Sarah Sanders calls Trump's salute to North Korean general 'common courtesy'," 14 June 2018 The best tiara mishap involves two high-ranking women who loathed each other but were obliged to do the standard upper-crust air kisses. Jessica Pan, The Cut, "The 10 Most Bizarre Royal Etiquette Rules," 17 May 2018

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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Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for oblige

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on oblige

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oblige

Spanish Central: Translation of oblige

Nglish: Translation of oblige for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblige for Arabic Speakers

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