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

So every Democrat obliged, giving Donald Trump fuel for social media. Thomas E. Patterson, BostonGlobe.com, "How our obsession with entertainment has trivialized the presidential primary debates," 4 Sep. 2019 If a renegade pilot threatened the safety of passengers, an airline’s management — or the regulators from the FAA — would feel legally obliged to act. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "On Trump and Queeg: A Followup," 25 Aug. 2019 Baby bats lick at their mothers’ mouths and their moms oblige by vomiting up a sweet meal for them. National Geographic, "Bats regurgitate nectar for their babies—a new discovery," 12 July 2019 The team obliged and Brown never played a regular season game with the Raiders. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Antonio Brown makes Patriots debut as his accuser is set to meet with NFL," 15 Sep. 2019 Newsom called for amendments on the bill giving the state more power to review medical exemptions, and the bill’s co-authors obliged. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Pundits laugh at Andrew Yang. Regular people don’t," 14 Sep. 2019 On August 26th Ecuador became the latest country to tighten entry requirements, joining Peru and Chile in obliging most Venezuelans to present a passport and evidence of a clean criminal record, which are difficult to obtain. The Economist, "Millions of refugees from Venezuela are straining neighbours’ hospitality," 12 Sep. 2019 The crowd of 18,620 erupted with a raucous ovation and asked for a curtain call from Gennett, who obliged with what turned out to be a warmup. Mark Schmetzer, Cincinnati.com, "Top Cincinnati Reds games: No. 12 – June 6, 2017 – Scooter Gennett's 4-homer game," 11 Sep. 2019 The official England Twitter account posted the video, as the 24-year-old duly obliged, kicking off his studs and handing them to the lucky supporter who then posed for a photograph with his new possessions. SI.com, "Raheem Sterling Makes Young England Fan's Year by Handing Over Boots After Kosovo Victory," 11 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for oblige

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

Comments on oblige

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