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  • IPA(key): /əˈblaɪd͡ʒd/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation, UK: ob‧liged; US: obliged


obliged (comparative more obliged, superlative most obliged)

  1. Under an obligation to do something.
    All employees are obliged to complete a tax return every year.
  2. Grateful or indebted because of a favor done.
    I'm greatly obliged for your help with this problem.

Usage notes[edit]

In sense “under obligation”, synonymous with obligated, though the latter is only used in American English and some dialects such as Scottish,[1] not standard British.[2]

In dialects where both obliged and obligated are used, there is no standard distinction drawn, though individuals may distinguish nuance or use idiosyncratically. In technical discussions, particularly legal ones such as The Concept of Law by H. L. A. Hart (1961), the words may carry different meanings, such as obligations inherent to a relationship versus ones externally imposed.

The "grateful or indebted" sense is considered dated in some contexts.


Derived terms[edit]




  1. simple past and past participle of oblige


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, p. 675
  2. ^ The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (1996)