Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

obligation - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable/uncountable] obligation pronunciation in British English /ˌɒblɪˈɡeɪʃ(ə)n/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    something that you must do for legal or moral reasons
    have an obligation to someone/something: The firm has an obligation to its customers.
    obligation to do something: Buyers have no legal obligation to disclose personal financial information.
    meet/honour/fulfil an obligation: The council has failed to fulfil its statutory obligation to the public.
    without (any) obligation: Estimates are available on request, without obligation.
  2. 2
    a grateful feeling that you have towards someone who has done something for you
    obligation to/towards: She felt a certain obligation towards him because of everything he had done for her in the past.
    sense of obligation: Emma felt a tremendous sense of obligation towards her sister.



a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog