What is obligation?

  • (noun): The social force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demanded by that force; every opportunity, an obligation.
    Synonyms: duty, responsibility
    See also — Additional definitions below


An obligation is a course of action that someone is required to take, whether legal or moral. There are also obligations in other normative contexts, such as obligations of etiquette, social obligations, and possibly in terms of politics, where obligations are requirements which must be fulfilled. These are generally legal obligations, which can incur a penalty for unfulfilment, although certain people are obliged to carry out certain actions for other reasons as well, whether as a tradition or for social reasons. Obligations vary from person to person: for example, a person holding a political office will generally have far more obligations than an average adult citizen, who themselves will have more obligations than a child. Obligations are generally granted in return for an increase in an individual's rights or power. For example, obligations for Health and Safety in a workplace from employer to employee maybe to ensure the Fire exit isn't blocked or ensure that the plugs are put in firmly.

Read more about Obligation.

Some articles on obligation:

Directive On Privacy And Electronic Communications - Main Provisions
... The first general obligation in the Directive is to provide security of services ... This obligation also includes the duty to inform the subscribers whenever there is a particular risk, such as a virus or other malware attack ... The second general obligation is for the confidentiality of information to be maintained ...
Obligation - Other Uses
... In the Catholic Church, Holy Days of Obligation or Holidays of Obligation, less commonly called Feasts of Precept, are the days on which, as canon 1247 of the ...
Stipulatio - Languages
... in Latin and the reply is in Greek, the obligation is settled providing the two correspond ... say that other languages can only produce an obligation, not an action ... languages – which may be significant (it may be that other languages could have been used.) An obligation is only produced where both parties ...
Carmichael V National Power Plc - Judgment
... the purpose of s 1, because there was not sufficient 'mutuality of obligation' when the guides were not actually guiding ... of Lairg said that there would not have been an ‘irreducible minimum of mutuality of obligation necessary to create a contract of service’ (relyin ... I would hold as a matter of construction that no obligation on the CEGB to provide casual work, nor on Mrs Leese and Mrs Carmichael to undertake it, was imposed ...
Compulsory Stock Obligation
... In the UK, a Compulsory Stock Obligation (CSO) is a minimum stock of fuel reserves that must be held by a supplier against shortages or interruptions in supply ... Companies incur an obligation if they are a supplier of a volume of 100,000 tonnes per annum or greater ... This obligation is assessed as being a holding of 67.5 days' stock (50 days for the UK) ...

More definitions of "obligation":

  • (noun): A legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply.
  • (noun): A personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favor.
  • (noun): The state of being obligated to do or pay something.
    Example: "He is under an obligation to finish the job"

Famous quotes containing the word obligation:

    I look on it as no trifling effort of female strength to withstand the artful and ardent solicitations of a man that is thoroughly master of our hearts. Should we in the conflict come off victorious, it hardly pays us for the pain we suffer from the experiment ... and I still persist in it that such a behaviour in any man I love would rob me of that most pleasing thought, namely, the obligation I have to him for not making such a trial.
    Sarah Fielding (1710–1768)

    The only obligation to which in advance we may hold a novel, without incurring the accusation of being arbitrary, is that it be interesting.
    Henry James (1843–1916)

    In other words, a democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.
    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859)