English dictionary

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English noun: obligation

1. obligation (act) the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force

SamplesWe must instill a sense of duty in our children.
Every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.

Synonymsduty, responsibility

Broader (hypernym)social control

Narrower (hyponym)burden of proof, civic duty, civic responsibility, demand, filial duty, guardianship, imperative, incumbency, job, keeping, legal duty, line of duty, moral obligation, noblesse oblige, prerequisite, requirement, requirement, safekeeping, white man's burden

2. obligation (state) the state of being obligated to do or pay something

SamplesHe is under an obligation to finish the job.

Broader (hypernym)state

Narrower (hyponym)financial obligation, indebtedness, liability

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


Broader (hypernym)personal relation, personal relationship

4. obligation (possession) a written promise to repay a debt

Synonymscertificate of indebtedness, debt instrument

Broader (hypernym)document

Narrower (hyponym)bond, bond certificate, cash equivalent, CD, certificate of deposit, floater, note, note of hand, promissory note

5. obligation (communication) a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply

Broader (hypernym)written agreement

Narrower (hyponym)debt

Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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