Definition of obligatory in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈbliɡəˌtôrē/


1Required by a legal, moral, or other rule; compulsory: use of seat belts in cars is now obligatory
More example sentences
  • First of all, what is the statutory or obligatory requirement for rank on a disciplinary tribunal?
  • While it is a fact that the Official Guide rules extra time obligatory at the end of a second draw, it also allows the League organisers to draw up their own rules before the start of such competitions.
  • Being born in the US bestows US citizenship on the offspring and eliminates the obligatory military service requirement.
1.1So customary or routine as to be expected of everyone or on every occasion: after the obligatory preamble on the weather he got down to business
More example sentences
  • After the old fella collecting money, we passed the old guy at the door greeting customers, with the obligatory vest, badges and balloons for the kids.
  • But after the usual obligatory rejection of an initial approach, the markets expected an increase in the offer to match shareholders' higher expectations.
  • Then we have the obligatory fashion section, which again, is well laid out and quite fun if you enjoy playing dress up and trying on a different identity every week.
1.2(Of a ruling) having binding force: a sovereign whose laws are obligatory
More example sentences
  • The National Conference is the UDF supreme body - its decisions are obligatory to all UDF members.
  • Neither governments nor courts have accepted the Universal Declaration as an instrument with obligatory force.
  • The command gains obligatory force because it is judged worthy of obedience.



Pronunciation: /əˈbliɡəˌtôrəlē/
Example sentences
  • Where once crime novels were obligatorily set in English villages or country houses, now they crop up everywhere, like alternative guidebooks.
  • They speak intimately of the value of art history for the artist; not as a dry subject, obligatorily learnt in darkened lecture theatres with projected slides, but lived art history, seen with fresh eyes, big with wonder, at great museums.
  • Even nouns such as groceries and trousers, which in their referential use obligatorily appear in plural form, lack the plural inflection in compounds: a grocery store, a trouser factory.


Late Middle English: from late Latin obligatorius, from Latin obligat- 'obliged', from the verb obligare (see oblige).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·blig·a·to·ry

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words