See also: obligé



From Middle English obligen, from Old French obligier, obliger, from Latin obligo, obligare, from ob- + ligo. Doublet of obligate, taken straight from Latin.


  • IPA(key): /əˈblaɪdʒ/
  • Rhymes: -aɪdʒ
  • (file)


oblige (third-person singular simple present obliges, present participle obliging, simple past and past participle obliged)

  1. (transitive) To constrain someone by force or by social, moral or legal means.
    I am obliged to report to the police station every week.
    • 1749, [John Cleland], Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [Fanny Hill], London: Printed [by Thomas Parker] for G. Fenton [i.e., Fenton and Ralph Griffiths] [], OCLC 731622352:
      Tho' he was some time awake before me, yet did he not offer to disturb a repose he had given me so much occasion for; but on my first stirring, which was not till past ten o'clock, I was oblig'd to endure one more trial of his manhood.
  2. (transitive) To do someone a service or favour (hence, originally, creating an obligation).
    He obliged me by not parking his car in the drive.
    • 1719, John Harris, Astronomical dialogues between a gentleman and a lady, page 151:
      In the mean time I have another trouble to give you, if you will oblige me in it; and that is to get me a sight of the famous Orrery, which I have heard you and others so often speak of; and which I think was made by Mr. Rowley, the famous Mathematical Instrument-Maker.
  3. (intransitive) To be indebted to someone.
    I am obliged to you for your recent help.
  4. (intransitive) To do a service or favour.
    The singer obliged with another song.

Usage notesEdit

Aside from in American English and Scottish, "obliged" has largely replaced "obligate" by the 20th century, the latter being more common in the 17th through 19th centuries.[1][2]

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1996)
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, p. 675






  1. first-person singular present indicative of obliger
  2. third-person singular present indicative of obliger
  3. first-person singular present subjunctive of obliger
  4. third-person singular present subjunctive of obliger
  5. second-person singular imperative of obliger