Synonym Chooser

How is the word oblige different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of oblige are coerce, compel, constrain, and force. While all these words mean "to make someone or something yield," oblige implies the constraint of necessity, law, or duty.

felt obliged to go

When would coerce be a good substitute for oblige?

Although the words coerce and oblige have much in common, coerce suggests overcoming resistance or unwillingness by actual or threatened violence or pressure.

coerced into signing over the rights

When might compel be a better fit than oblige?

The words compel and oblige can be used in similar contexts, but compel typically suggests overcoming of resistance or unwillingness by an irresistible force.

compelled to admit my mistake

When can constrain be used instead of oblige?

The meanings of constrain and oblige largely overlap; however, constrain suggests the effect of a force or circumstance that limits freedom of action or choice.

constrained by conscience

Where would force be a reasonable alternative to oblige?

While the synonyms force and oblige are close in meaning, 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

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Cite this Entry

“Oblige.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/oblige. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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