OBLIGA'TION, noun [Latin obligatio.]
1. The binding power of a vow, promise, oath or contract, or of law, civil, political or moral, independent of a promise; that which constitutes legal or moral duty, and which renders a person liable to coercion and punishment for neglecting it. The laws and commands of God impose on us an obligation to love him supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. Every citizen is under an obligation to obey the laws of the state. Moral obligation binds men without promise or contract.
2. The binding force of civility, kindness or gratitude, when the performance of a duty cannot be enforced by law. Favors conferred impose on men an obligation to make suitable returns.
3. Any act by which a person becomes bound to do something to or for another, or to forbear something.
4. In law, a bond with a condition annexed and a penalty for non-fulfillment.