noblesse oblige

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Borrowing from French, noblesse ‎(nobility) oblige ‎(obliges)


noblesse oblige ‎(uncountable)

  1. The honourable obligation that is the responsibility of those of high rank; in American English this often includes the expectation of benevolent actions such as helping those less fortunate.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The Oxford English Dictionary says that the term "suggests noble ancestry constrains to honourable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility." Being a noble meant that you had responsibilities to lead, manage, etc. You were not to simply spend your time in idle pursuits.


See also[edit]