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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But the final authority to obey the request lies with the courts, which will hold a full hearing some time after February 24th next year. James Vincent, The Verge, "Julian Assange’s extradition to the US will be decided by the UK courts in 2020," 14 June 2019 No concrete proposal is made to get the utilities to obey the fire safety rules. San Diego Union-Tribune, "California wildfire commission recommends easing liability rules for utilities," 8 June 2019 Motorists who obeyed the rules of the road, for example, were given gift vouchers. Sigal Samuel, Vox, "Forget GDP — New Zealand is prioritizing gross national well-being," 8 June 2019 If your a restaurant gives customers an open view of your kitchen, make sure your kitchen workers obey common-sense food safety guidelines. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Two-hundred rodent poops. Roaches in a microwave. Why these restaurants failed inspection," 4 June 2019 What is certain is that Coltrane was obeying no one’s muse but his own, and that sparks were flying as a result. David Weininger, BostonGlobe.com, "An incendiary final tour for Miles and Coltrane, and the sparks fly," 22 Mar. 2018 When their mother gave an instruction, George and Charlotte happily obeyed. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Is Reportedly Organizing Swimming Races for Prince George and Princess Charlotte," 25 Feb. 2019 True architecture obeyed the Seven Lamps of Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory and Obedience. Tristram Hunt, WSJ, "Elegy for the Floating City," 25 Jan. 2019 Damage must be controlled, and laws must be obeyed. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "How the dazzling, overstuffed ‘Incredibles 2’ holds up a cracked mirror to present-day reality," 4 July 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.

See More

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).

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about obey

Dictionary Entries near obey

obese

obesity

obesogenic

obey

obeyable

obeyance

obfirm

Statistics for obey

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obey

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on obey

What made you want to look up obey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!