[uh-blig-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, ob-li-guh-]


required as a matter of obligation; mandatory: A reply is desirable but not obligatory.
incumbent or compulsory (usually followed by on or upon): duties obligatory on all.
imposing moral or legal obligation; binding: an obligatory promise.
creating or recording an obligation, as a document.

Origin of obligatory

1425–75; late Middle English < Late Latin obligātōrius binding, equivalent to Latin obligā(re) to bind (see obligate) + -tōrius -tory1
Related formsob·lig·a·to·ri·ly [uh-blig-uh-tawr-uh-lee, ‐tohr‐, ob-li-guh‐, uh-blig-uh-tawr-uh-lee, ‐tohr‐, ob-li-guh‐] /əˈblɪg əˌtɔr ə li, ‐ˌtoʊr‐, ˈɒb lɪ gə‐, əˌblɪg əˈtɔr ə li, ‐ˈtoʊr‐, ˌɒb lɪ gə‐/, adverbob·lig·a·to·ri·ness, nounnon·ob·lig·a·to·ri·ly, adverbnon·ob·lig·a·to·ry, adjectiveun·o·blig·a·to·ry, adjective

Synonyms for obligatory

Antonyms for obligatory

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

Examples from the Web for obligatory

Contemporary Examples of obligatory

Historical Examples of obligatory

  • In France and in England, it is obligatory also to attend vespers on the Sundays.

  • The study of these three languages is obligatory in the secondary schools.

    Holland, v. 1 (of 2)

    Edmondo de Amicis

  • For this is due to a confusion of the good or generous with the obligatory.

  • They made an obligatory and superficial search through the coal cellar.

    Just Patty

    Jean Webster

  • The presence of women in the synagogue was in many instances not obligatory.

    Luna Benamor

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

British Dictionary definitions for obligatory



required to be done, obtained, possessed, etc
of the nature of or constituting an obligation
Derived Formsobligatorily, adverb
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 obligatory

c.1400, from Old French obligatoire "creating an obligation, obligatory," and directly from Late Latin obligatorius "binding," from obligat-, past participle stem of obligare (see oblige).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper