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 Alex Bois, a founder of Lost Bread, was happy to oblige. Melissa Clark, New York Times, "These Pretzel Shortbread Cookies Are (Almost) Too Good to Share," 28 Feb. 2020 Roope Hintz, Denis Gurianov and Jason Dickinson were happy to oblige. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Youth leads way in Stars’ 4-1 dispatching of Hurricanes on the road," 25 Feb. 2020 Brûlée is an easy-going girl happy to oblige with either some affection and petting or just some companionship as a couch potato. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Bosa and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week," 17 Jan. 2020 The rescuers were more than happy to oblige, chipping in to get them a cheese pizza. CBS News, "Young siblings who vanished from their Florida front yard found safe after two days," 18 Dec. 2019 Game Plan When the Buffs run Give CU a chance to control the ball with the run game, and offensive coordinator Jay Johnson is more than happy to oblige. Matt Schubert, The Denver Post, "CU vs. Washington scouting report: Who has the edge, predictions and 3 things to watch," 22 Nov. 2019 And these days, politicians from both parties are increasingly happy to oblige. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Big Tech’s Favorite Legal Shield Is in Danger," 20 Nov. 2019 President Donald Trump, seeking re-election next year, will be happy to oblige. Gilead Sher, Time, "Netanyahu's Defense Treaty with Trump Is a Bad Idea. Just as Well It's Only a Gimmick," 16 Sep. 2019 Anybody got a picture?’’ Their partner in rush-and-crush, Sheldon Richardson, was all too happy to oblige. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Myles Garrett on posing for ESPN’s Body Issue, beating Aaron Donald for NFL DPOY and more," 6 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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Time Traveler for oblige

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblige. Accessed 3 Apr. 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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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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