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[uh-blig-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, ob-li-guh-] /əˈblɪg əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, ˈɒb lɪ gə-/
required as a matter of obligation; mandatory:
A reply is desirable but not obligatory.
incumbent or compulsory (usually followed by on or upon):
duties obligatory on all.
imposing moral or legal obligation; binding:
an obligatory promise.
creating or recording an obligation, as a document.
Origin of obligatory
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Late Latin obligātōrius binding, equivalent to Latin obligā(re) to bind (see obligate) + -tōrius -tory1
Related forms
[uh-blig-uh-tawr-uh-lee, ‐tohr‐, ob-li-guh‐, uh-blig-uh-tawr-uh-lee, ‐tohr‐, ob-li-guh‐] /əˈblɪg əˌtɔr ə li, ‐ˌtoʊr‐, ˈɒb lɪ gə‐, əˌblɪg əˈtɔr ə li, ‐ˈtoʊr‐, ˌɒb lɪ gə‐/ (Show IPA),
obligatoriness, noun
nonobligatorily, adverb
nonobligatory, adjective
unobligatory, adjective
2. necessary, imperative.
2. voluntary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for obligatory
  • She would show up for any obligatory cause, cultural event or party, if only someone asked.
  • But if you're going to note that, it seems obligatory to also note that he doesn't believe this is probable.
  • During his obligatory spell in the civil service, he was the youngest to reach the top rank.
  • Of course, there's also the obligatory guarantee that you'll see a whale, or you get another opportunity at no cost.
  • There are a certain number of obligatory duties when you're a columnist.
  • The respects were paid with an obligatory politeness in the dugout.
  • But some airports take the obligatory walking to extremes.
  • And that the meeting is obligatory rather than welcome.
  • Even if there's not much left to say, the redial button is obligatory.
  • During his first visit, obligatory for all boys in secondary school, the officers declared him fit for military service.
British Dictionary definitions for obligatory


/ɒˈblɪɡətərɪ; -trɪ/
required to be done, obtained, possessed, etc
of the nature of or constituting an obligation
Derived Forms
obligatorily, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obligatory

c.1400, from Old French obligatoire "creating an obligation, obligatory," and directly from Late Latin obligatorius "binding," from obligat-, past participle stem of obligare (see oblige).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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