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

The officer approached the man at gunpoint and the man obeyed the officer’s commands and surrendered. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Armed burglary suspect captured on I-459 wearing only shirt and underwear," 7 Aug. 2019 This wasn’t just about helping the Sentinelese or obeying God. Alex Perry, Outside Online, "The Last Days of John Allen Chau," 24 July 2019 The man then became irate and shouted and cursed at officers while refusing to obey commands. cleveland.com, "Drunk man was giving away money at Market District: Solon police blotter," 18 July 2019 Ariel was punished for refusing to obey the witch’s commands; Quin was being punished for issuing commands. Mary Gaitskill, The New Yorker, "This Is Pleasure," 8 July 2019 Like the global shunning of Huawei, the charges mean the U.S. is starting to get serious about showing Beijing there is a price to be paid for refusing to obey the rules of free global commerce. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "China’s Hacking State," 20 Dec. 2018 Despite the extra costs, captains have mostly obeyed the rule. The Economist, "To save whales, Canada sets a maritime speed limit," 18 July 2019 Soleil obeys hand signals, voice commands and body movements of Cavanaugh. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "New officer Soleil joins the Glastonbury police force," 12 July 2019 From all the items on a bookshelf or desk to massive planets like Jupiter and Saturn, everything obeys gravity in the same way. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Challenge Einstein with Chameleon Theory," 9 July 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

14 Aug 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

Comments on obey

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