What does obligation mean?

Definitions for obligationˌɒb lɪˈgeɪ ʃən

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word obligation.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. duty, responsibility, obligation(noun)

    the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force

    "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D.Rockefeller Jr

  2. obligation(noun)

    the state of being obligated to do or pay something

    "he is under an obligation to finish the job"

  3. obligation, indebtedness(noun)

    a personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favor

  4. debt instrument, obligation, certificate of indebtedness(noun)

    a written promise to repay a debt

  5. obligation(noun)

    a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply


  1. obligation(Noun)

    The act of binding oneself by a social, legal, or moral tie to someone.

  2. obligation(Noun)

    A social, legal, or moral requirement, duty, contract, or promise that compels someone to follow or avoid a particular course of action.

  3. obligation(Noun)

    A course of action imposed by society, law, or conscience by which someone is bound or restricted.

  4. obligation(Noun)

    A legal agreement stipulating a specified payment or action; the document containing such agreement.

    X shall be entitled to subcontract its obligation to provide the Support Services.

  5. Origin: From Latin obligatio, from obligatum (past participle of obligare), from ob- to + ligare to bind, from leig-.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Obligation(noun)

    the act of obligating

  2. Obligation(noun)

    that which obligates or constrains; the binding power of a promise, contract, oath, or vow, or of law; that which constitutes legal or moral duty

  3. Obligation(noun)

    any act by which a person becomes bound to do something to or for anouther, or to forbear something; external duties imposed by law, promise, or contract, by the relations of society, or by courtesy, kindness, etc

  4. Obligation(noun)

    the state of being obligated or bound; the state of being indebted for an act of favor or kindness; as, to place others under obligations to one

  5. Obligation(noun)

    a bond with a condition annexed, and a penalty for nonfulfillment. In a larger sense, it is an acknowledgment of a duty to pay a certain sum or do a certain things

  6. Origin: [F. obligation. L. obligatio. See Oblige.]


  1. Obligation

    An obligation is a course of action that someone is required to take, whether legal or moral. There are also obligations in other normative contexts, such as obligations of etiquette, social obligations, and possibly in terms of politics, where obligations are requirements which must be fulfilled. These are generally legal obligations, which can incur a penalty for non-fulfilment, although certain people are obliged to carry out certain actions for other reasons as well, whether as a tradition or for social reasons. Obligations vary from person to person: for example, a person holding a political office will generally have far more obligations than an average adult citizen, who themselves will have more obligations than a child. Obligations are generally granted in return for an increase in an individual's rights or power. For example, obligations for health and safety in a workplace from employer to employee maybe to ensure the fire exit isn't blocked or ensure that the plugs are put in firmly. The word "obligation" can also designate a written obligation, or such things as bank notes, coins, checks, bonds, stamps, or securities.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'obligation' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4107

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'obligation' in Nouns Frequency: #1086


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of obligation in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of obligation in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Magd Eddin al-Masri:

    Jihad in Egypt is an obligation.

  2. Publius Celsus:

    There is no legal obligation to perform impossibilities.

  3. Neil deGrasse Tyson:

    The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.

  4. Richard Bach:

    Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.

  5. Les Otten:

    I'm a carpetbagger, but I felt an obligation to continue a tradition.

Images & Illustrations of obligation

  1. obligationobligationobligation

Translations for obligation

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"obligation." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/obligation>.

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