- something by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things, and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.
- something that is done or is to be done for such reasons: to fulfill one's obligations.
- a binding promise, contract, sense of duty, etc.
- the act of binding or obliging oneself by a promise, contract, etc.
- an agreement enforceable by law, originally applied to promises under seal.
- a document containing such an agreement.
- a bond containing a penalty, with a condition annexed for payment of money, performance of covenants, etc.
- any bond, note, bill, certificate, or the like, as of a government or a corporation, serving as evidence of indebtedness.
- an indebtedness or amount of indebtedness.
- a favor, service, or benefit for which gratitude is due.
- a debt of gratitude: He felt an obligation to his teacher.
- the state of being under a debt, as of gratitude, for a favor, service, or benefit.
Origin of obligation
SynonymsSee more synonyms for obligation on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for obligation
Obviously, the first obligation of all liberal democratic governments is to enforce the rule of law.Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
January 8, 2015
It is the obligation of citizens and journalists as well as governments.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too
January 8, 2015
“It is our Islamic obligation to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and give it our Islamic fealty,” he said.ISIS Targets Afghanistan Just as the U.S. Quits
Sami Yousafzai, Christopher Dickey
December 19, 2014
But he has always said we have an obligation to defend people in the region.Rand Paul Declares War on ISIS—and Allows Boots on the Ground
November 24, 2014
Krauss says that ending religion is a matter of obligation, but I think our obligations are much different.Why Are Millennials Unfriending Organized Religion?
November 9, 2014
But I don't wish to be under any obligation to him, that's certain.The Raid From Beausejour; And How The Carter Boys Lifted The Mortgage
Charles G. D. Roberts
Yet I don't like to owe him an obligation, if I could help it.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
He cannot permit the burden of obligation to remain upon him.The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
At the lowest mark, the balance will be even, and there'll be no obligation at all.Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
This obligation to learn ceases when certain examinations are passed.Freeland
- a moral or legal requirement; duty
- the act of obligating or the state of being obligated
- law a legally enforceable agreement to perform some act, esp to pay money, for the benefit of another party
- a written contract containing a penalty
- an instrument acknowledging indebtedness to secure the repayment of money borrowed
- a person or thing to which one is bound morally or legally
- something owed in return for a service or favour
- a service or favour for which one is indebted
Word Origin and History for obligation
c.1300, from Old French obligacion "obligation, duty, responsibility" (early 13c.) and directly from Latin obligationem (nominative obligatio) "an engaging or pledging," literally "a binding" (but rarely used in this sense), noun of action from past participle stem of obligare (see oblige). The notion is of binding with promises or by law or duty.