(1)   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)   A legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply
(3)   A personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favor
(4)   The state of being obligated to do or pay something
"He is under an obligation to finish the job"


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


  1. The act of binding oneself by a social, legal, or moral tie to someone.
  2. A social, legal, or moral requirement, duty, contract, or promise that compels someone to follow or avoid a particular course of action.
  3. A course of action imposed by society, law, or conscience by which someone is bound or restricted.
  4. 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. <>

Related terms

  • obligato
  • obligatorily
  • oblige
  • obligee

  • obliger
  • obliging
  • obligingly
  • obligingness
  • obligor


From , from the verb .