from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Benevolent, honorable behavior considered to be the responsibility of persons of high birth or rank.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The honourable obligation that is the responsibility of those of high rank; in American English this often includes the expectation of benevolent actions such as helping those less fortunate.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the obligation of those of high rank to be honorable and generous (often used ironically)
French, nobility is an obligation : noblesse, nobility + oblige, third person sing. present tense of obliger, to obligate.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French, noblesse ("nobility") oblige ("obliges") (Wiktionary)