Noblesse Oblige is a French phrase taken into English, largely as an expression of [presumed] superiority. It is first recorded in that language in 1808 (G. Duc de Levis Maximes, Réflexions, Essais (ed. 2) 13, cited in OED.) It is translated as "noble rank entails responsibility", and in general is extended to mean that privilege, whether of birth, class, education or character, requires the privileged person to behave well, particularly to those who do not share the privilege. (See also Noblesse - nobility.)
The phrase is pronounced, in English, as nearly as possible to the French way of saying it with no marked stresses, and notably with the final vowel '-i-' sounding like an English '-EE-', the final '-e' silent, and the final consonant with a soft '-j-' sound like the middle consonant in 'pleasure'. (IPA: /nɒbl ɛs ɒb liːʒ/.)
- The phrase is also used as the title of a book edited by Nancy Mitford (1956).