Wikipedia's article on oblates defines oblate as follows:
Currently, oblate has two meanings:
- Oblates are individuals, either laypersons or clergy, normally living in general society, who, while not professed monks or nuns, have individually affiliated themselves with a monastic community of their choice. They make a formal, private promise (annually renewable or for life, depending on the monastery with which they are affiliated) to follow the Rule of the Order in their private life as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit. Such oblates do not constitute a separate religious order as such, but are considered an extended part of the monastic community, and as such also often have the letters OblSB after their names on documents. They are comparable to the tertiaries associated with the various Orders of friars.
- "Oblate" is also used in the official name of some religious institutes as an indication of their sense of dedication.