Word of the Day : August 23, 2018

oblige

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verb uh-BLYJE

Definition

1 : to constrain by physical, moral, or legal force or by the exigencies of circumstance

2 a : to put in one's debt by a favor or service

b : to do a favor for

c : to do something as or as if as a favor

Did You Know?

Oblige shares some similarities with its close relative obligate, but there are also differences. Oblige derives via Middle English and the Anglo-French obliger from Latin obligare ("to bind to"), a combination of ob- ("to or toward") and ligare ("to bind"), whereas obligate descends directly from obligatus, the Latin 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

"Bessie would rather have stayed, but she was obliged to go, because punctuality at meals was rigidly enforced at Gateshead Hall." — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847

"The band has been playing the anniversary shows around the country since mid-2017, and after West Coast fans demanded a local performance, the nine-piece ska band from Boston happily obliged." — Kelli Skye Fadroski, The Chico (California) Enterprise-Record, 29 June 2018



Word Family Quiz

What word is derived from Latin ligare and, in English, refers to an association of nations for a common purpose?

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