• WordNet 3.6
    • v oblige bind by an obligation; cause to be indebted "He's held by a contract","I'll hold you by your promise"
    • v oblige provide a service or favor for someone "We had to oblige him"
    • v oblige force somebody to do something "We compel all students to fill out this form"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Obliging Horseman Obliging Horseman
"No, mom; much obliged jest the same." "No, mom; much obliged jest the same."
He was obliged to send Beauty herself in his place He was obliged to send Beauty herself in his place

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: According to company lore, Ole Evinrude, a Norwegian immigrant, got the idea for an outboard motor while on a picnic with his sweetheart Bessie. They were on a small island in Lake Michigan, when Bessie decided she wanted some ice cream. Ole obligingly rowed to shore to get some, but by the time he made it back the ice cream had melted. So Ole built a motor that could be attached to his rowboat, and founded the Evinrude company in 1909.
    • Oblige To attach, as by a bond. "He had obliged all the senators and magistrates firmly to himself."
    • Oblige To bind by some favor rendered; to place under a debt; hence, to do a favor to; to please; to gratify; to accommodate. "Thus man, by his own strength, to heaven would soar,
      And would not be obliged to God for more."
      "The gates before it are brass, and the whole much obliged to Pope Urban VIII.""I shall be more obliged to you than I can express."
    • Oblige To constrain by physical, moral, or legal force; to put under obligation to do or forbear something. "The obliging power of the law is neither founded in, nor to be measured by, the rewards and punishments annexed to it.""Religion obliges men to the practice of those virtues which conduce to the preservation of our health."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • oblige To bind; attach; devote.
    • oblige To bind, constrain, or compel by any physical, moral, or legal force or influence; place under the obligation or necessity (especially moral necessity) of doing some particular thing or of pursuing some particular course.
    • oblige To lay under obligation of gratitude, etc., by some act of courtesy or kindness; hence, to gratify; serve; do a service to or confer a favor upon; be of service to; do a kindness or good turn to: as, kindly oblige me by shutting the door; in the passive, to be indebted.
    • oblige Synonyms To force, coerce. To serve, accommodate.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Oblige ō-blīj′ to bind or constrain: to bind by some favour rendered, hence to do a favour to
    • ***


  • Charles Lamb
    “The beggar is the only person in the universe not obliged to study appearance.”
  • Thomas Traherne
    “Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love.”
  • Mrs Hubbard Davis
    Mrs Hubbard Davis
    “To be born free is an accident; To live free a responsibility; To die free is an obligation.”
  • Michel Eyquem De Montaigne
    “Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations.”
  • Earl Riney
    Earl Riney
    “Freedom without obligation is anarchy. Freedom without obligation is democracy.”
  • Thomas Kempis
    “Activate yourself to duty by remembering your position, who you are, and what you have obliged yourself to be.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. obligier, F. obliger, L. obligare,; ob,see Ob-) + ligare, to bind. See Ligament, and cf. Obligate
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. obligāre, -ātumob, before, ligāre, to bind.


In literature:

When obliged to exert myself, I am ignorant what to do!
"The Confessions of J. J. Rousseau, Complete" by Jean Jacques Rousseau
They say that all military contractors are obliged to submit to it.
"Serge Panine, Complete" by Georges Ohnet
Lord Alfred he had been obliged to buy.
"The Way We Live Now" by Anthony Trollope
They are obliged to sleep on the hard ground, to rise before the sun.
"An Egyptian Princess, Complete" by Georg Ebers
But he was obliged to return to the Eysvogels.
"In The Fire Of The Forge, Complete" by Georg Ebers
Even the innocent are obliged to buckle their belts tighter.
"Barbara Blomberg, Complete" by Georg Ebers
He succeeded at length in obtaining permission to see Florent; but on his return from Bicetre he was obliged to take to his bed.
"The Fat and the Thin" by Emile Zola
I believe he was obliged to go out before he advanced much further.
"The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, Vol. 1 (of 3)" by Fanny Burney
I am obliged to use the most of it on the royalty statements you send me.
"Kent Knowles: Quahaug" by Joseph C. Lincoln
I am much obliged to your ladyships, said Mrs. Jervis: Will your ladyships please to sit down?
"Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded" by Samuel Richardson

In poetry:

His joyous spirits rising soon,
He instantly struck up a tune:
But here we are oblig'd to tell,
As his notes rose, her spirits fell.
"The Jealous Head" by William Hutton
To John I owed great obligation,
But John unhappily thought fit To publish it to all the nation:
Sure John and I are more than quit.
"Epigram - To John I Owed Great Obligation" by Matthew Prior
I'm bound to love my friends, but yet
I sin unless I do them hate:
I am oblig'd to hate my foes,
Yet bound to love, and pray for those.
"The Believer's Riddle; or, the Mystery of Faith" by Ralph Erskine
For why? I've often suffer'd blame
For thee, and been o'erwhelm'd with shame,
And often been oblig'd to take
A thousand insults for thy sake.
"Part Of The Sixty-Ninth Psalm" by Rees Prichard
(The mothers were of decent size,
Though not particularly tall;
But in the sketch that meets your eyes
I've been obliged to draw them small.)
"Thomas Winterbottom Hance" by William Schwenck Gilbert
The REVEREND SIMON frowned: "I grieve
This light demeanour to perceive;
It's scarcely COMME IL FAUT, I think:
Now - pray oblige me - do not wink.
"The Reverend Simon Magus" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In news:

Russia says that the order was not based on the actions of any specific company but rather on its obligations within the OECD's Anti-Bribery Convention to which it became a signatory last April.
But he misses the point of my post (as he is professionally obliged to do).
Cirrus has restructured more than $13 million worth of loan and lease obligations related to its Grand Forks, N.D. Production facility with that city's Growth Fund.
At least in my view and that expressed in the Litigation Section Letter, two other things need to be added to clarify the obligations of the party issuing the subpoena.
Deceased's estate obligated to pay credit card bills.
The District Attorneys Are Legally Obligated to Rock Your Face Off.
And by the way, there is no obligation on the part of the bride's parents to pay for her wedding even the first time around.
Italy's Berlusconi: I'm " obliged " to stay in politics.
If Congress passes some questionable laws, are we obliged to obey them.
I am obligated to the safety of the public, staff and inmates incarcerated at the Franklin County Jail.
Law school not obliged to recognize Christian group.
That A/V setup could use a few curves BDI is ready to oblige, with its new Ola 8137 home theater cabinet.
Fido wants to play, so you oblige by taking her for a walk.
The pension obligation bonds will be paid off from the city's general fund.
Congressman Connie Mack has made penny-pinching debt-reduction central to his US Senate campaign, but privately he has struggled at times with borrowing and paying his own obligations, court records show.

In science:

In this paper, we present a simple and practical risk-neutral model for cash CLO (Collateralized loan obligation), which is one of the most important type of cash CDOs.
A Top-down Model for Cash CLO
If we include it among the interactions, then we compute correlations using Eq. (25) and are obliged to make the implicit assumption that they do not subsequently decay.
Infrared effects in inflationary correlation functions
Enqvist, Nurmi, Podolsky & Rigopoulos remarked that an inflationary theorist, calculating millions of years in the future, would be obliged to work in a box of slightly larger size L′ > L .
Infrared effects in inflationary correlation functions
Moreover, the structure of the superpotential obliges us to consider extra couplings between the inflaton field of FHI and the inflaton-like field of PQPT in the K¨alher potential.
F-Term Hybrid Inflation Followed by a Peccei-Quinn Phase Transition
As a consequence, no cosmic strings are produced [28, 31] in this realization of standard FHI and, therefore, we are not obliged to impose extra restrictions on the parameters – as e.g. in Ref. .
F-Term Hybrid Inflation Followed by a Peccei-Quinn Phase Transition