obey

verb
\ ō-ˈbā, ə-\
obeyed; obeying

Definition of obey

transitive verb

1 : to follow the commands or guidance of He always obeys his parents.
2 : to conform to or comply with obey an order Falling objects obey the laws of physics.

intransitive verb

: to behave obediently The dog does not always obey.

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Other Words from obey

obeyer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for obey

obey and mind mean to do what a person says. obey is used when someone quickly yields to the authority of another or follows a rule or law. Obey your parents. Obey all traffic laws. mind is used like obey especially when speaking to children but it often means paying attention to the wishes or commands of another. Mind what I said about talking.

Examples of obey in a Sentence

His dog has learned to obey several commands. He always obeys his parents. The children must obey the rules. The children must learn to obey.
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Recent Examples on the Web

May’s deal — which tries to ease the divorce with a 21-month transition period, wherein the UK obeys EU rules without decision-making power — is pretty unpopular. Jen Kirby, Vox, "EU to UK: take the Brexit deal or else," 30 Nov. 2018 In a pair of early-morning tweets, Trump also maintained that even if the hush-money payments did count as campaign transactions, any failure to obey federal election regulations should be considered only a civil offense, not a criminal one. Charlie Savage, The Seattle Times, "Trump lays out a defense for potential campaign-finance crimes," 10 Dec. 2018 Soon after, the man was booked on suspicion of delaying a police officer, trespassing on state property and failure to obey a regulatory sign. Benjamin Oreskes, latimes.com, "‘You ain’t poppin’ unless you got haters’: Aspiring rapper turns L.A. commute into nightmare," 28 June 2018 The Times later identified the man as Alexander Dunn, 29, who the newspaper reported was booked on suspicion of delaying a police officer, trespassing on state property and failure to obey a regulatory sign. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Nearly naked man who scaled Los Angeles freeway sign causes traffic jam," 27 June 2018 Instead, Roberts is back in Indian River County Jail without bond and with a new charge of failure to obey law enforcement and violation of felony probation. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "He craved a soft drink — and that could put him in prison," 19 June 2018 Nick Cavey, a spokesman for the capitol police, said the five were charged with refusal or failure to leave a public building and failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order. Michael Dresser, baltimoresun.com, "Five arrested at Maryland State House in Poor People's Campaign protest," 4 June 2018 Harris’s script instructs, and the cast obeys his directions to the letter. Constance Grady, Vox, "In Slave Play, audience and actors alike spar over who has the whip," 17 Dec. 2018 Soon after, in the biggest fight of their young union, Jamie follows Scottish tradition and punishes Claire for not obeying him. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "Outlander's Sex Scenes Are More Than Hot—They're Genuinely Feminist," 7 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of obey

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for obey

Middle English obeien, borrowed from Anglo-French obeir, going back to Latin oboedīre, from ob- "toward, in the direction of" + -oedīre, probably unstressed form (with -oe- of uncertain origin) of audīre "to hear" — more at ob-, audible entry 1

Note: The -oe- in oboedīre is peculiar both because it is not the expected result of -au- in a non-initial syllable (the regular outcome is -ū-) and because -oe- is any case rare non-initially. Various attempts have been made to account for the irregularity. Reflecting earlier suggestions, Michiel de Vaan hypothesizes pre-Latin *ób-awizdijō > *obowizdijō > *oboizdijō (rounding of a before w, which is then lost, prior to the weakening of a to u) > oboediō (with z blocking monophthongization of -oi- to -ū- before succumbing to cluster reduction) (see Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the Other Italic Languages, Brill, 2008). As an alternative to assumptions of questionable phonetic change, it has also been suggested that a base other than audīre is at issue (Michael Weiss suggests *ob-bhoi̯diō, from a nominal derivative of the base of fīdere "to trust" [see faith entry 1]; see Outline of the Historical and Comparative Grammar of Latin, Ann Arbor, 2009, p. 120).

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Learn More about obey

Dictionary Entries near obey

obese

obesity

obesogenic

obey

obeyable

obeyance

obfirm

Statistics for obey

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obey

The first known use of obey was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for obey

obey

verb

English Language Learners Definition of obey

: to do what someone tells you to do or what a rule, law, etc., says you must do

obey

verb
\ ō-ˈbā \
obeyed; obeying

Kids Definition of obey

1 : to follow the commands or guidance of Dogs are trained to obey their masters.
2 : to comply with : carry out obey an order obey the rules

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More from Merriam-Webster on obey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obey

Spanish Central: Translation of obey

Nglish: Translation of obey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obey for Arabic Speakers

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