Definition of Obligation

1. Noun. The social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force. "Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"

2. Noun. The state of being obligated to do or pay something. "He is under an obligation to finish the job"
Generic synonyms: State
Specialized synonyms: Financial Obligation, Indebtedness, Liability
Derivative terms: Obligate, Obligate

3. Noun. A personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favor.
Exact synonyms: Indebtedness
Generic synonyms: Personal Relation, Personal Relationship
Derivative terms: Indebted, Oblige

4. Noun. A written promise to repay a debt.

5. Noun. A legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply.
Generic synonyms: Written Agreement
Specialized synonyms: Debt
Derivative terms: Obligate, Oblige

Definition of Obligation

1. n. The act of obligating.

Definition of Obligation

1. Noun. The act of binding oneself by a social, legal, or moral tie to someone. ¹

2. Noun. A social, legal, or moral requirement, duty, contract, or promise that compels someone to follow or avoid a particular course of action. ¹

3. Noun. A course of action imposed by society, law, or conscience by which someone is bound or restricted. ¹

4. Noun. (legal) A legal agreement stipulating a specified payment or action; the document containing such agreement. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Obligation

1. [n -S]

Lexicographical Neighbors of Obligation

obligate carnivore
obligate carnivores
obligate carrier
obligate parasite
obligate quadruped
obligate quadrupeds
obligation (current term)

Literary usage of Obligation

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the by Charles George Herbermann (1913)
"obligation, a term derived from the Roman civil law, defined in the ... Originally both parties were considered to be under the obligation to each other; ..."

2. A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental by David ( Hume (1898)
"A promise creates a new obligation. A new obligation supposes new sentiments to arise. ... There could not naturally, therefore, arise any obligation from a ..."

3. Supreme Court Reporter by Robert Desty, United States Supreme Court, West Publishing Company (1920)
"It Is ^ printed In the margin, i to •The bill attacks the ordinance upon two • constitutional grounds : First, that It Impairs the obligation of the ..."

4. The Social Welfare Forum: Official Proceedings ... Annual Forum by National Conference on Social Welfare, American Social Science Association, Conference of Charities (U.S., Conference of Charities (U.S.), National Conference of Social Work (U.S. (1921)
"The physical and industrial rehabilitation of our ex-service men and women is only part of the national obligation. For those legally ineligible for ..."

5. A Study of Origins: Or, The Problems of Knowledge, of Being, and of Duty by Edmond de Pressensé (1883)
"In order that there may be obligation, and consequently morality, there must be,—first, a law, an ideal, a notion of good, else obligation would be ..."

6. The Law of Contracts by John Innes Clark Hare (1887)
"MORAL obligation. . Moral obligation as the Consideration for an express Promisc. — Distinction between Legal Consideration barred by Statute, etv., ..."

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