Nearby words

  1. obligate,
  2. obligate aerobe,
  3. obligate anaerobe,
  4. obligate parasite,
  5. obligated,
  6. obligational,
  7. obligational authority,
  8. obligative,
  9. obligato,
  10. obligatory

Origin of obligation

1250–1300; Middle English obligacioun < Old French obligation < Latin obligātiōn- (stem of obligātiō) a binding, equivalent to obligāt(us) bound (see obligate) + -iōn- -ion

Related formspre·ob·li·ga·tion, nounre·ob·li·ga·tion, nounsu·per·ob·li·ga·tion, noun

Synonym study

1. See duty.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obligation

British Dictionary definitions for obligation



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
  1. a written contract containing a penalty
  2. 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
Derived Formsobligational, adjective

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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper