Definition of noblesse oblige in English:

noblesse oblige


  • The inferred responsibility of privileged people to act with generosity and nobility toward those less privileged.

    ‘there was to being a celebrity a certain element of noblesse oblige’
    • ‘Churchill's aristocratic background gave him a strong sense of noblesse oblige towards the poor, and although this was wrapped in a good deal of patronising terminology about ‘humble homes’ he was genuinely behind the drive.’
    • ‘What argument might convince the bottom-line conservative who is unmoved by noblesse oblige, but might understand Tocqueville's concept of enlightened self-interest?’
    • ‘For what it's worth, I think this reveals something quite striking about the sense of noblesse oblige within each man upon their graduation from Yale and entry into a life of privilege.’
    • ‘But with personal greed subsuming any sense of noblesse oblige or the national interest, it is time the hallowed romance of titled wealth was dispelled.’
    • ‘But that privileged upbringing is supposed to be accompanied by a bit of noblesse oblige.’
    • ‘In that sense the Queen Mother retained to her final days a spirit of noblesse oblige that may be increasingly out of fashion in today's Britain.’
    • ‘The spirit of noblesse oblige is not simply absent: it is incomprehensible to the rising generation.’
    • ‘Conservation had its roots in the noblesse oblige of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in the actions of patrician class individuals such as Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot.’
    • ‘The thinkers and activists who built it insisted that the social provision of goods be treated as a right possessed by all people as citizens, rather than as an act of charity or noblesse oblige, a gift from some to others.…’
    • ‘The dominant culture, masculinist and egalitarian, was opposed to any such display of noblesse oblige.’


noblesse oblige