ob·serv·able | \ əb-ˈzər-və-bəl \

Definition of observable 

2 : capable of being observed : discernible

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Other words from observable

observability \əb-ˌzər-və-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
observable noun
observably \əb-ˈzər-və-blē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for observable


apparent, seeable, visible, visual


invisible, sightless, viewless

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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

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 The airplane is very much built to go into combat and be low-observable. William Langewiesche, The Atlantic, "An Extraordinarily Expensive Way to Fight ISIS," 21 June 2018 This is the picture that our observable universe is not all that exists, but rather [is] one pocket of infinitely many universes, forming a multiverse. Alexander Hellemans, Scientific American, "A Conversation with Thomas Hertog, One of Stephen Hawking’s Final Collaborators," 24 May 2018 This has contributed to South Dakota’s observable tax collection windfall. Chris Cox, WSJ, "Sales Tax Revenue Isn’t Collapsing," 19 Apr. 2018 Or does science instead aim to save the observable phenomena without necessarily having to tell us a true story, as some antirealists would contend instead? Philip Ball, WIRED, "Questioning Truth, Reality, and the Role of Scientific Progress," 2 June 2018 Beyond that, there’s no observable increase in happiness with higher income. Adam Sternbergh, The Cut, "Read This Story and Get Happier," 28 May 2018 Three decades ago, a prime challenge in artificial-intelligence research was to program machines to associate a potential cause to a set of observable conditions. Kevin Hartnett, The Atlantic, "How a Pioneer of Machine Learning Became One of Its Sharpest Critics," 19 May 2018 In addition, the whole system is located 90% of the way to the edge of the observable universe. Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, "A pileup of 14 distant galaxies is set to become the most massive structure in the universe," 25 Apr. 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.

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First Known Use of observable

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Last Updated

27 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for observable

The first known use of observable was in 1589

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English Language Learners Definition of observable

: possible to see or notice : able to be observed


ob·serv·able | \ əb-ˈzər-və-bəl \

Kids Definition of observable

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

Other words from observable

observably \-blē \ adverb

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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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