verb (used with object), o·bliged, o·blig·ing.
- to require or constrain, as by law, command, conscience, or force of necessity.
- to bind morally or legally, as by a promise or contract.
- to place under a debt of gratitude for some benefit, favor, or service: I’m much obliged for the ride.
- to put (one) in a debt of gratitude, as by a favor or accommodation: Mr. Weems will oblige us with a song.
- 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.
- to be kindly accommodating: I’ll do anything within reason to oblige.
- (tr; often passive) to bind or constrain (someone to do something) by legal, moral, or physical means
- (tr; usually passive) to make indebted or grateful (to someone) by doing a favour or servicewe are obliged to you for dinner
- to do a service or favour to (someone)she obliged the guest with a song
v.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.