Meaning of “obligation” in the English Dictionary

"obligation" in 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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As regards reducing the pressure exerted by fishing upon resources, it is important to emphasise the international nature of this obligation.
Yesterday, in one excellent speech, someone said that we have a moral obligation to defend and develop democracy and human rights.
However, these provisions which allow for some flexibility of labelling presentation are technically justified, given the obligation to list all ingredients, including those used in very small quantities.
The only social measure in this report is therefore the obligation to inform workers that they are going to be made redundant!
In order that accidents can be prevented in advance as effectively as possible, we need an advance notification obligation for vessels and mandatory inspections of high-risk vessels.
The error lies precisely in, when all is said and done, considering environmental investments to be an obligation which has been imposed, an additional cost which serves no purpose.
Our society will no longer have a common destiny; instead it will be based on a juxtaposition of 'minorities' which each have their own rights but no common obligation.
The obligation to complement the growing of cereals with legumes and fodder crops in order to receive subsidies can thus contribute towards establishing ecological cycles and improving the soil.
Lack of understanding, unfamiliarity and the obligation on the banks to promote currency exchange will encourage the counterfeiting of both the euro and national currencies.
On account of this obligation, the importance of providing public services and the well being of the user are being subordinated to attempts to cut down on labour costs.

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