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 When the employees allegedly became belligerent and refused to provide identification, they were charged with failure to obey lawful orders. Washington Post, "Police union says new Park Police chief arranged for criminal cases to be dropped," 15 Sep. 2019 In Boston, taxi companies must obey rules including a going through a permitting process, meeting standards for vehicles, and following fare rates set by the city. John Hilliard, BostonGlobe.com, "With Uber ruling, taxi companies ‘are running out of legal theories’ against ride-hail companies," 8 Sep. 2019 The primary architecture of debates, like reality TV with its twisting plots and snaking subplots, obeys a simple formula: an adoption of disorder. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Depth of Field: The Otherworldliness of the Democratic Presidential Debates," 1 Aug. 2019 States enact their own policies rather than joining together to compile a holistic plan, as if complex water systems should obey the arbitrary borderlines of American federalism. Max Holleran, The New Republic, "The Water Wars Are Here," 13 Sep. 2019 When America and western Europe experienced similar transport booms in the 20th century, popular culture made folk heroes of long-distance drivers—brawny, taciturn types who prefer to brave blizzards than obey a foreman on a factory floor. The Economist, "China’s long-distance lorry drivers are unsung heroes of its economy," 12 Sep. 2019 Three crucial questions for the president: How will the U.S. ensure the Taliban obeys its pledge to disavow al-Qaida and preempt any revival of anti-West terrorism? Chicago Tribune, Twin Cities, "Other voices: 3 questions about an Afghanistan peace deal," 8 Sep. 2019 On Tuesday morning, before jury selection in his felony child abuse case, Denham, 35, was arrested for contempt of court for refusing to obey courtroom rules. Bend Bulletin, oregonlive.com, "Oregon child abuse defendant removed from own trial during ugly scene; jury takes 8 minutes to convict," 28 Aug. 2019 This new approach also transforms the doctor from the ultimate decision-maker and expert who should be obeyed to a sympathetic listener and the patient’s partner. Maria Danilova, Harper's magazine, "Alternative Medicine," 28 Aug. 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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Statistics for obey

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce obey (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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