[noh-bles oh-bleezh; French naw-bles aw-bleezh]
- the moral obligation of those of high birth, powerful social position, etc., to act with honor, kindliness, generosity, etc.
Origin of noblesse oblige
1830–40; < French: literally, nobility obliges
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- often ironic the supposed obligation of nobility to be honourable and generous
Word Origin for noblesse oblige
French, literally: nobility obliges
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
The belief that the wealthy and privileged are obliged to help those less fortunate. From French, meaning “nobility obligates.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.