Definition of oblige in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈblīj/


[with object and infinitive]
1Make (someone) legally or morally bound to an action or course of action: doctors are obliged by law to keep patients alive while there is a chance of recovery
More example sentences
  • This September, I am legally obliged to renew my driver's licence.
  • His hands were completely tied on this one, and those who now criticise him for doing what he was legally obliged to do are being unfair in the extreme to him.
  • ‘I was brought up thinking work is something you are morally obliged to do,’ as one older man put it.
require, compel, bind, constrain, obligate, leave with no option but, force
1.1 [with object] Do as (someone) asks or desires in order to help or please them: oblige me by not being sorry for yourself [no object]: tell me what you want to know and I’ll see if I can oblige
More example sentences
  • Please oblige by suggesting the proper food style, life style and other things to avoid further blocks.
  • ‘If you wish to embrace me, Maria, you know I will be only too pleased to oblige you,’ replied James, his voice low and teasing.
  • Unfortunately, a lack of research funding and other assistance made it impossible to oblige him, but we had a lively conversation.
do someone a favor, accommodate, help, assist, serve;
indulge, humor, gratify someone's wishes
1.2 (be obliged) Be indebted or grateful: if you can give me a few minutes of your time I’ll be much obliged
More example sentences
  • Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay.
  • I shall be much obliged if you would give me an opportunity for an interview.
  • If you or anyone else can help me to sort out the security issues I would be much obliged.
thankful, (most) grateful, (most) appreciative;
beholden, indebted, in someone's debt
thank you, thanks, many thanks, thanks a lot, thanks (so) very much, thanks so much, thank you kindly
informal thanks a million
1.3 [with object] archaic Bind (someone) by an oath, promise, or contract.



Example sentences
  • In the event the obliger discontinues the project, the assets acquired fully or substantially out of the grants given by the Government will revert to the Government grant.
  • The obliger is currently not in default under any of its outstanding securities for which United States Trust Company of New York is Trustee.


Middle English (in the sense 'bind by oath'): from Old French obliger, from Latin obligare, from ob- 'toward' + ligare 'to bind'.

  • ally from Middle English:

    Latin alligere ‘combine together’, formed from ad- ‘to(gether)’ and ligare ‘bind’ developed into two closely related words in Old French: alier which became ally in English, and aloyer which became alloy (late 16th century). Ligare is also hidden in furl (late 16th century) which comes from French ferler, from ferm ‘firm’ and lier ‘bind’; league (Late Middle English) a binding together; and oblige (Middle English) originally meaning ‘bind by oath’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·blige

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