: being under obligation for a favor or gift : indebted
Did You Know?
Have you ever found yourself under obligation to someone else for a gift or favor? It's a common experience and, not surprisingly, many of the words describing this condition have been part of the English language for centuries. Beholden is recorded in the Middle-English Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Indebted, which entered English through Anglo-French, is older and still very much in use. Those who don't mind sounding like English speakers of yore have another synonym of beholden to choose from: a now-archaic sense of bounden. That word is today more often used with the meaning "made obligatory" or "binding," as in "our bounden duty."
"When the Second Continental Congress ratified the final text of this Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it was launching into uncharted territory. They were creating a vision for a country that did not yet exist. As Ronald Reagan would later say, 'This idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.'" — Brad Wenstrup, The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, 4 July 2020
"Group sizes will remain beholden to the gatherings limits put in place by the governor's state of emergency order for managing the state's economy and government amid the COVID-19 pandemic." — Michael Frett, The St. Albans (Vermont) Messenger, 23 June 2020
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of duty or responsibility: REIDOV.VIEW THE ANSWER
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