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

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

Recently, RFRA-type laws have been used to shield members of the Christian majority from having to obey anti-discrimination laws. The Economist, "The gripping case of Scott Warren," 14 June 2019 Anyone that has to obey a law should be able to vote. Jessica Villagomez, chicagotribune.com, "‘I was part of history and I was making history’: Illinois marks centennial of ratifying 19th Amendment, giving women right to vote," 10 June 2019 Behind the scenes, a trainer is waving his electric cattle prod or leather whip to make clear what will happen if the animals fail to obey. Frans De Waal, Discover Magazine, "Cheerful Chimps: Are Animals Really Happy When They Smile?," 31 May 2019 Moacyr Dias-Filho, a technician from the government agency for agricultural research, Embrapa, said ranchers would make bigger profits by obeying the law. Paulo Trevisani, WSJ, "One Small Rancher’s Big Role in Saving Brazil’s Amazon," 19 May 2018 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

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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Learn More about obey

Dictionary Entries near obey

obese

obesity

obesogenic

obey

obeyable

obeyance

obfirm

Statistics for obey

Last Updated

3 Jul 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 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

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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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