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 Despite belittling the protesters, Mr Khan has felt obliged to negotiate with them. The Economist, "Religious protesters have put Pakistan’s government on the defensive," 7 Nov. 2019 President Trump has now to some extent at least obliged all three — but without getting much of anything in return. Peter Baker, New York Times, "For Trump the Dealmaker, Troop Pullouts Without Much in Return," 21 Oct. 2019 And yet campus apologists have felt obliged to insist that concerns over attempts to encroach on academic freedom are exaggerated or overstated. Frederick M. Hess, National Review, "An Ominous New Rationale for Trampling on Academic Freedom," 18 Oct. 2019 The grounding has obliged Delta’s largest competitors— American Airlines Group Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. —to strike thousands of flights from their schedules during the busiest time of the year for airlines. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Delta Gains From MAX Grounding and High Demand," 11 July 2019 The group stole thousands of sensitive messages and then published them through an obliging third party in a way that was strategically timed to influence the United States presidential election. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "Mitch McConnell Didn’t Stop Obama from Doing Anything about Russia in 2016," 2 Aug. 2019 But around a decade ago, people started passing the results, under seal, to obliging bakers, who would bake pink or blue cakes, conceal them in neutral-colored frosting and then deliver them to be cut open at a party in front of friends and family. Carina Chocano, New York Times, "When Gender Reveal Videos Go Spectacularly, Cathartically Wrong," 1 Aug. 2019 The Silver Explorer is a ship with elegant and varied public spaces, excellent cabins, fabulous food, and, best of all, a delightful and ever obliging crew. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Exploring Polynesia's Islands by Cruise," 28 June 2019 As a private school, Northwestern is not obliged to share its report. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "On IU basketball spending: 'Our program doesn't want for anything'," 4 Apr. 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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Statistics for oblige

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

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
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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