oblig·​ing ə-ˈblī-jiŋ How to pronounce obliging (audio)
: willing to do favors : helpful
obligingly adverb
obligingness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for obliging

amiable, good-natured, obliging, complaisant mean having the desire or disposition to please.

amiable implies having qualities that make one liked and easy to deal with.

an amiable teacher not easily annoyed

good-natured implies cheerfulness or helpfulness and sometimes a willingness to be imposed upon.

a good-natured girl who was always willing to pitch in

obliging stresses a friendly readiness to be helpful.

our obliging innkeeper found us a bigger room

complaisant often implies passivity or a yielding to others because of weakness.

was too complaisant to protest a decision he thought unfair

Examples of obliging in a Sentence

An obliging passerby helped her with her packages. an obliging concierge used her pull to get us reservations at the town's hottest restaurant
Recent Examples on the Web On top of this, China has already sought to gradually make the multilateral system more obliging of its national interests and values. Kevin Rudd, Foreign Affairs, 5 Feb. 2021 That flip, from obliging smart house to nightmarish funhouse, is not so far off from many of the current problems that plague contemporary smart home technology. Julia Malleck, Quartz, 5 May 2023 The roads are dry, dusted with a milky layer of salt, and the all-wheel-drive R75 proves obliging, more than once bringing itself back into line for me as hairpin follows hairpin. Robin Swithinbank, Robb Report, 16 Apr. 2023 No Labels wants to be taken seriously—and Third Way is definitely obliging. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 14 Apr. 2023 The alternative view of Mr. Biden, put forth by many labor historians and activists, is that while the president has in fact been more obliging to unions and maintained better relationships with union leaders than his recent Democratic predecessors, the difference is one of degree rather than kind. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, 27 Dec. 2022 This insect is an obliging lab animal. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 18 Aug. 2015 The government would have fallen had the censure motion been upheld, obliging Macron either to name a new government or dissolve the National Assembly, or lower house, and call elections. Roger Cohen, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Mar. 2023 With luck, at least one of them will be as obliging as Blanche. Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obliging.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


from present participle of oblige

First Known Use

1632, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of obliging was in 1632

Dictionary Entries Near obliging

Cite this Entry

“Obliging.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obliging. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: willing to do favors
obligingly adverb

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