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Senior Member
what is the difference between oblige and compel? Both the words seems to have identical meaning for me.

Employers are legally obliged to pay the minimum wage.

The fans wanted more goals, and Ferguson duly obliged.

After having been invited to their party, we were obliged to invite them to ours.The will obliges the heirs to live in the family mansion.

The order compelled him to appear as a witness.

I feel compelled to write to thankyou.

<Edited by moderator (Florentia52) to remove unnecessary links.>
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    If you check our dictionary (type "oblige" into the searchbox at top center this page) you will see that "oblige" has multiple meanings.

    Meaning #1 is to require by law or by force: this meaning matches one meaning of "compel"

    Meaning #2 is to place under a "debt of gratitude": people feel "obliged" to someone = they feel they "owe" that person something

    Meaning #3 is to do a favor or service to someone, as Ferguson did for its fans.

    Your post shows good examples of all three meanings.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    There is some overlap but they are not identical and cannot be used in the same contexts. I will stop now as dojibear seems to have beaten me to a detailed answer ;)
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