If someone is obligated to do something, he or she feels a certain responsibility or other motivation to act. This may be a matter of conscience or a feeling of commitment:

  • Mary feels obligated to help her family in Honduras when they need money.
  • The man who broke the window felt obligated to pay for the repair.
  • Having a large number of workers in the factory obligates the company to ensure their safety.
  • As a teacher of high school students, John is obligated to be a model of good behavior.
  • She didn’t finished the job because she wasn’t obligated to do it. She said that it was another person’s responsibility.
  • Jerry says he doesn’t feel compelled or obligated to stick with the company, so he has decided to quit his job.

When this word is a noun, it becomes "obligation."

  • The police officer felt an obligation to go help the woman in trouble, even though he was off duty and not wearing a uniform.
  • Vince left the military once his obligations to serve were completed.
  • The company says it has an obligation to help the less fortunate members of the community.
  • Sarah says she doesn’t feel any obligation to remain married to someone she doesn’t love.

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This page was first published on October 15, 2013.