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Origin of obliging

First recorded in 1630–40; oblige + -ing2
Related formso·blig·ing·ly, adverbo·blig·ing·ness, nounun·o·blig·ing, adjective

Synonyms for obliging

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verb (used with object), o·bliged, o·blig·ing.
  1. to require or constrain, as by law, command, conscience, or force of necessity.
  2. to bind morally or legally, as by a promise or contract.
  3. to place under a debt of gratitude for some benefit, favor, or service: I'm much obliged for the ride.
  4. to put (one) in a debt of gratitude, as by a favor or accommodation: Mr. Weems will oblige us with a song.
  5. to make (an action, policy, etc.) necessary or obligatory: Your carelessness obliges firmness on my part.
verb (used without object), o·bliged, o·blig·ing.
  1. to be kindly accommodating: I'll do anything within reason to oblige.

Origin of oblige

1250–1300; Middle English obligen < Old French obligier < Latin obligāre to bind. See obligate
Related formso·blig·ed·ly [uh-blahy-jid-lee] /əˈblaɪ dʒɪd li/, adverbo·blig·ed·ness, nouno·blig·er, nounpre·o·blige, verb (used with object), pre·o·bliged, pre·o·blig·ing.re·o·blige, verb (used with object), re·o·bliged, re·o·blig·ing.un·o·bliged, adjective
Can be confusedcoerce compel constrain force obligeobligate oblige

Synonyms for oblige

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Synonym study

4. Oblige, accommodate imply making a gracious and welcome gesture of some kind. Oblige emphasizes the idea of conferring a favor or benefit (and often of taking some trouble to do it): to oblige someone with a loan. Accommodate emphasizes doing a service or furnishing a convenience: to accommodate someone with lodgings and meals.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obliging

Contemporary Examples of obliging

Historical Examples of obliging

British Dictionary definitions for obliging


  1. ready to do favours; agreeable; kindly
Derived Formsobligingly, adverbobligingness, noun


  1. (tr; often passive) to bind or constrain (someone to do something) by legal, moral, or physical means
  2. (tr; usually passive) to make indebted or grateful (to someone) by doing a favour or servicewe are obliged to you for dinner
  3. to do a service or favour to (someone)she obliged the guest with a song
Derived Formsobliger, noun

Word Origin for oblige

C13: from Old French obliger, from Latin obligāre, from ob- to, towards + ligāre to bind
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 obliging

"willing to do service or favors," 1630s, present participle adjective from oblige. Related: Obligingly.



c.1300, "to bind by oath," from Old French obligier "engage one's faith, commit (oneself), pledge" (13c.), from Latin obligare "to bind, bind up, bandage," figuratively "put under obligation," from ob "to" (see ob-) + ligare "to bind," from PIE root *leig- "to bind" (see ligament). Main modern meaning "to make (someone) indebted by conferring a benefit or kindness" is from 1560s. Related: obliged; obliging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper