Pronunciation: (ob"li-gā'shun), [key]
1. something by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things, and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.
2. something that is done or is to be done for such reasons: to fulfill one's obligations.
3. a binding promise, contract, sense of duty, etc.
4. the act of binding or obliging oneself by a promise, contract, etc.
a. an agreement enforceable by law, originally applied to promises under seal.
b. a document containing such an agreement.
c. a bond containing a penalty, with a condition annexed for payment of money, performance of covenants, etc.
6. any bond, note, bill, certificate, or the like, as of a government or a corporation, serving as evidence of indebtedness.
7. an indebtedness or amount of indebtedness.
8. a favor, service, or benefit for which gratitude is due.
9. a debt of gratitude: He felt an obligation to his teacher.
10. the state of being under a debt, as of gratitude, for a favor, service, or benefit.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.