obey

verb
\ ō-ˈbā How to pronounce obey (audio) , 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

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 Bu the sheriff has since refused to obey the order. Josiah Bates, Time, "With Over 275,000 Infections and 1,700 Deaths, COVID-19 Has Devastated the U.S. Prison and Jail Population," 28 Dec. 2020 Experience shows that if there is no enforcement, no one will obey the law. Mohit Rao, CNN, "Indian police use violence as a shortcut to justice. It's the poorest who bear the scars," 2 Dec. 2020 Police at the scene maintained their distance from the protesters until members of the group shot firecrackers at officers and refused to obey orders, police spokesman John Elder said in the press release. Fox News, "Protesters in Minneapolis carry ‘America is Over’ banner; 14 arrested after setting off fireworks, police say," 4 Nov. 2020 The police were able to stop her a few hundred feet away, in front of Union Station, and she was accused of three crimes: impersonating a police officer, failing to obey a police officer and trying to flee a police officer. BostonGlobe.com, "Police arrest a woman who they said impersonated an officer at inauguration checkpoint," 17 Jan. 2021 About 20 others face misdemeanor charges of failing to obey federal police officers on federal property—which prosecutors contend includes the streets around the federal courthouse. Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "In Portland, Tensions Move From Streets to Court," 8 Dec. 2020 Others charged face allegations of arson , attempted arson, damaging federal property, failure to obey orders and unlawful use of a drone. oregonlive, "Portland man who threatened federal contract worker with paintball gun sentenced to time served, year of supervision," 26 Jan. 2021 Even interstellar objects have to obey the law of gravity, but ‘Oumuamua raced along as if propelled by an extra force. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "Have We Already Been Visited by Aliens?," 18 Jan. 2021 Capitol Police said she was charged with false impersonation of a law enforcement officer, failure to obey an officer and fleeing a law enforcement officer. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Protesters find troops circling state capitols," 18 Jan. 2021

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 in 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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Time Traveler for obey

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for obey

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obey. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce obey (audio) \
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

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on obey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obey

Nglish: Translation of obey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obey for Arabic Speakers

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