Etymology
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obligation (n.)

c. 1300, obligacioun, "a binding pledge, commitment to fulfill a promise or meet conditions of a bargain," from Old French obligacion "obligation, duty, responsibility" (early 13c.) and directly from Latin obligationem (nominative obligatio) "an engaging or pledging," literally "a binding" (but rarely used in this sense), noun of action from past-participle stem of obligare "to bind, bind up, bandage," figuratively "put under obligation" (see oblige). The notion is of binding with promises or by law or duty.

The meaning "that which one is bound or obliged to do, especially by moral or legal claims a duty" is from c. 1600. That of "state or fact of being bound or constrained by gratitude to requite benefits, moral indebtedness," also is from c. 1600. Related: Obligational.

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Definitions of obligation

obligation (n.)
the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D.Rockefeller Jr;
Synonyms: duty / responsibility
obligation (n.)
the state of being obligated to do or pay something;
he is under an obligation to finish the job
obligation (n.)
a personal relation in which one is indebted for a service or favor;
Synonyms: indebtedness
obligation (n.)
a written promise to repay a debt;
Synonyms: debt instrument / certificate of indebtedness
obligation (n.)
a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply;
From wordnet.princeton.edu