verb \ ō-ˈbā , ə- \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of obey

obeyed; obeying
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.



Examples of obey in a Sentence

  1. His dog has learned to obey several commands.

  2. He always obeys his parents.

  3. The children must obey the rules.

  4. The children must learn to obey.

Recent Examples of obey from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of obey

Middle English obeien, from Anglo-French obeir, from Latin oboedire, from ob- toward + -oedire (akin to audire to hear) — more at ob-, audible

obey Synonyms

adhere (to), comply (with), conform (to), follow, goose-step (to), mind, observe, abide by, fall in with, keep to
defy, disobey, rebel (against)
Related Words
defer (to), submit (to), surrender (to), yield (to); accede (to), acquiesce (to), agree (to), assent (to); attend, hear, heed, listen (to), mark, note, notice, regard, take, watch
Near Antonyms
disoblige; challenge, dare; refuse, renounce, repudiate; direct, lead; brush off, disregard, ignore, overlook, overpass, pass over, tune out, wink (at); dismiss, pooh-pooh (also pooh), shrug off; breach, break, infringe, transgress, violate; deride, flout, mock, scoff (at), scorn; mutiny (against), revolt (against); buck, combat, contest, dispute, fight, oppose, resist, withstand

OBEY Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of obey for English Language Learners

  • : to do what someone tells you to do or what a rule, law, etc., says you must do

OBEY Defined for Kids


verb \ ō-ˈbā \

Definition of obey for Students

obeyed; obeying
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

Synonym Discussion of 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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of or relating to dancing

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