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noblesse oblige

[ noh-bles oh-bleezh; French naw-bles aw-bleezh ]
/ noʊˈblɛs oʊˈbliʒ; French nɔˈblɛs ɔˈbliʒ /
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noun

the moral obligation of those of high birth, powerful social position, etc., to act with honor, kindliness, generosity, etc.

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Origin of noblesse oblige

First recorded in 1830–40; from French: literally, “nobility obliges”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for noblesse oblige

noblesse oblige
/ (nəʊˈblɛs əʊˈbliːʒ, French nɔblɛs ɔbliʒ) /

noun

often ironic the supposed obligation of nobility to be honourable and generous
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

Cultural definitions for noblesse oblige

noblesse oblige
[ (noh-bles oh-bleezh) ]

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.
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