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 boyfriend called the dog back inside the house, and the dog obeyed. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Angry drunk woman arrested after yelling, driving, resisting and flopping in Brook Park," 12 July 2019 Like other auto execs, Iacocca protested that his industry would go broke, or even shut down, if forced to obey tough new standards. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Lee Iacocca wasn't perfect: 3 times the auto icon got it all wrong," 6 July 2019 On Tuesday, House Democrats finally, at long last, took the Trump administration to court over its steadfast refusal to obey a subpoena for the president’s tax returns. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Do Democrats Really Want To See Trump’s Tax Returns?," 5 July 2019 Teams that would otherwise obey the rules thus have incentives to break the rules. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Teams Clearly Ignoring Free Agency Tampering Rules Be a Problem for NBA?," 1 July 2019 That is because everyone realizes that the rules are temporary and is, therefore, willing to obey them. Constance Grady, Vox, "Decoding the wedding dress code," 27 June 2019 Smart devices can work miracles, obeying your every command. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "When smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data?," 20 June 2019 Schooling can get kind of complex on filming days but there's a type of workaround so the child labor law is still obeyed, yet there's enough time to adequately film everything. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "Here's What It Actually Takes to Be a Nickelodeon Star, According to Nickelodeon Stars," 18 June 2019 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

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

17 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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