Meaning of “obligation” in the English Dictionary

"obligation" in British English

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uk /ˌɒb.lɪˈɡeɪ.ʃən/ us /ˌɑː.bləˈɡeɪ.ʃən/

B2 [ C or U ] the fact that you are obliged to do something:

[ + to infinitive ] If you have not signed a contract, you are under no obligation to (= it is not necessary to) pay them any money.
You have a legal obligation to (= the law says you must) ensure your child receives an education.

[ C ] something that you must do:

I don't have time to do his work for him - I have too many obligations as it is.

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(Definition of “obligation” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"obligation" in American English

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obligationnoun [ C/U ]

us /ˌɑb·ləˈɡeɪ·ʃən/

something that a person feels morally or legally forced to do:

[ C ] The government has an obligation to assist relief efforts.
[ U ] You can just look – you’re under no obligation to buy.

(Definition of “obligation” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"obligation" in Business English

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uk /ˌɒblɪˈɡeɪʃən/ us LAW

[ C or U ] a legal or moral duty to do something:

a legal/moral obligation
an obligation to do sth There is a legal obligation to publish accounts.
We have an obligation to generate value for our shareholders.
an obligation to sb Under bankruptcy law, the company has an obligation to creditors.
be under (an) obligation You are under no obligation to accept damaged goods.
obligations [ plural ]

things that you must do or pay because of a law, rule, agreement, etc.:

impose/place obligations on sb The law imposes certain obligations on public authorities.
fulfil/meet your obligations He has fulfilled the obligations of his current contract.
contractual/financial/statutory obligations Failure to meet contractual obligations may result in legal action.
without obligation

COMMERCE, LAW used to say that someone can look at or try a product or service without having to buy it:

Auction houses will usually examine and place a price on your item without obligation.
This mortgage advice is completely free and without obligation.

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(Definition of “obligation” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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