ob·​serv·​able | \ əb-ˈzər-və-bəl How to pronounce observable (audio) \

Definition of observable

2 : capable of being observed : discernible

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from observable

observability \ əb-​ˌzər-​və-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce observability (audio) \ noun
observable noun
observably \ əb-​ˈzər-​və-​blē How to pronounce observably (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for observable


apparent, seeable, visible, visual


invisible, sightless, viewless

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of observable in a Sentence

the size of the observable universe scientists often work with phenomena that are not directly observable

Recent Examples on the Web

Trump is pushing a narrative on this meeting largely spun out of one right-wing commentator’s theory, one that bears very little relation to observable reality. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "“Spygate,” the false allegation that the FBI had a spy in the Trump campaign, explained," 25 May 2018 Also, the symptoms of homocystinuria related to an MTHFR mutation are generally observable (e.g. seizures, neurological issues). Tara C. Smith, SELF, "Why You Don't Actually Need to Test for MTHFR Gene Variants," 18 Mar. 2019 Even without such interactions with ordinary matter, dark matter's self-interactions might have observable consequences. Lisa Randall, Scientific American, "What Is Dark Matter?," 8 May 2018 For some women, an ovarian cancer diagnosis comes after a lengthy, frustrating, stressful process, given that many don’t have observable symptoms until the cancer is in a more advanced stage. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "3 Women on How They’ve Handled the Hardest Parts of Ovarian Cancer," 13 Dec. 2018 Tiny fluctuations observable in the CMB are evidence of seeds that grew into the cosmos' larger structure, so scrutinizing this light can reveal key insights about the universe's very early days. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Observations of the Early Universe Reaffirm the Existence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy," 18 July 2018 But in quieter, sometimes less observable ways, the carnage mounts in racial injustice and discrimination. Thabiti Anyabwile, Washington Post, "Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t worth compromising with Trump, my fellow evangelicals," 28 June 2018 There were also, however, observable patterns in the data that might help refine the process of classification. The Economist, "A big collaboration is trying to understand diseases of the psyche," 28 June 2018 Researchers are almost always forced to rely on what people remember about their dreams, rather than directly observable data. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Do You Dream in Internet? Don’t Freak Out," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'observable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of observable

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about observable

Statistics for observable

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for observable

The first known use of observable was in 1589

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for observable



English Language Learners Definition of observable

: possible to see or notice : able to be observed


ob·​serv·​able | \ əb-ˈzər-və-bəl How to pronounce observable (audio) \

Kids Definition of observable

: noticeable Her cat's shape was observable under the blanket.

Other Words from observable

observably \ -​blē \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on observable

What made you want to look up observable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!