noblesse oblige

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 25, 2020 is:

noblesse oblige • noh-BLESS-uh-BLEEZH  • noun

: the obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth


“Like many independent schools, Shipley cultivates a sense of noblesse oblige among its students—the notion that part of being educated in a privileged environment requires scholars to give back.” — Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 20 May 2020

“And, unlike the goal of simply becoming fabulously wealthy—which one could also accomplish by winning the lottery or marrying a nonroyal oil magnate—princesshood came with a sense of noblesse oblige. You would be doing it to inspire people. You would be your own act of charity.” — Monica Hesse, The Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

In French, noblesse oblige means literally “nobility obligates.” French speakers transformed the phrase into a noun, which English speakers picked up in the 19th century. Then, as now, noblesse oblige referred to the unwritten obligation of people from a noble ancestry to act honorably and generously to others. Later, by extension, it also came to refer to the obligation of anyone who is in a better position than others—due, for example, to high office or celebrity—to act respectably and responsibly.

Ken Saunders is a freelance writer for hire. He specializes in creating content that will drive traffic, convert readers and make your social media pop. He has been writing since 2012. His professional background is in Information Technology as well as Health and Wellness. His experience has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys researching and writing articles on the topics of Spirituality, Technology, Food, Travel, and the LGBT community. His articles have appeared in a number of e-zine sites, including Lifehack. Media, Andrew Christian, and You can learn more about his services at