noblesse oblige

noblesse oblige

[noh-bles oh-bleezh; French naw-bles aw-bleezh]
noun
the moral obligation of those of high birth, powerful social position, etc., to act with honor, kindliness, generosity, etc.

Origin:
1830–40; < French: literally, nobility obliges

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World English Dictionary
noblesse oblige (nəʊˈblɛs əʊˈbliːʒ, French nɔblɛs ɔbliʒ)
 
n
ironic often the supposed obligation of nobility to be honourable and generous
 
[French, literally: nobility obliges]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
noblesse oblige [(noh-bles oh-bleezh)]

The belief that the wealthy and privileged are obliged to help those less fortunate. From French, meaning “nobility obligates.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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