\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

Police said the rule is almost impossible to enforce, and added that people need to obey posted signs and only swim where it's allowed or supervised. Manoella Macedo, ajc, "Several drownings in same week raise water safety concerns," 9 July 2018 The Fuenteses, unlike the Bundys, have been obeying the law. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy," 18 May 2018 Another somewhat self-explanatory tip, but obey the local laws when using fireworks. Joshua Trudell, ajc, "10 ways to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks safely," 27 June 2018 Dun was arrested on charges of trespassing on state property, failing to obey a sign, and suspicion of delaying a police officer. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "Man Causes More Los Angeles Traffic Than Usual By Scaling Sign Half Naked," 28 June 2018 Guests were criticized for issues such as ringing the wrong doorbell, throwing food from windows and failing to obey Japan’s Byzantine trash-sorting rules. Mayumi Negishi, WSJ, "Japan Says Airbnb Had Plenty of Warning About New Licensing Law," 11 June 2018 These numbers will tell us just how often governments are trying to block access to certain apps, and how many of those orders are actually obeyed. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Apple will start reporting government requests to remove apps from the App Store," 25 May 2018 Police said the arrests came after a crowd surrounded a car in the parking lot, and the women failed to obey an order to disperse. Anita Chabria, sacbee, "These five activists are keeping the peace in Sacramento in the wake of Stephon Clark | The Sacramento Bee," 13 Apr. 2018 Hollie observed this vehicle fail to obey sign: right turn only and proceed through the intersection of Bissonnet St. and Bellaire Blvd. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire police report," 19 Feb. 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, from Anglo-French obeir, from Latin oboedire, from ob- toward + -oedire (akin to audire to hear) — more at ob-, audible

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Statistics for obey

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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



English Language Learners Definition of obey

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


\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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Comments on obey

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a private place of worship

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