[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
French, literally: nobility obliges
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.