ob·​ser·​vance | \ əb-ˈzər-vən(t)s How to pronounce observance (audio) \

Definition of observance

1a : a customary practice, rite, or ceremony Sabbath observances
b : a rule governing members of a religious order
2 : an act or instance of following a custom, rule, or law observance of the speed limits
3 : an act or instance of watching

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Examples of observance in a Sentence

the observance of this family tradition would make your grandmother very happy observance of the smoking ban in public buildings

Recent Examples on the Web

The weakest made sense of their alien surroundings by clinging tenaciously to stiff, exaggerated social observances and taking an ugly pride in their apartness. Maxwell Carter, WSJ, "‘The British in India’ Review: Anglo-Indian Attitudes," 9 Nov. 2018 For many, Christian observance and Christian religiosity are deeply intertwined with a kind of knee-jerk authoritarianism. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Top Trump evangelical ally: Jesus never broke immigration law," 11 July 2018 But the quintessential American holiday was also marked by some with a sense of a United States divided, with a debate raging about immigration policies and competing observances staged in the nation’s capital. BostonGlobe.com, "Americans celebrate nation’s birthday, lament divisions," 4 July 2018 And are there any differences between women’s religious observance and their testosterone levels? Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Is the World Done With Liberal Democracy?," 1 June 2018 Print subscribers get a password for your existing account here Tuesday’s activities launched the Tricentennial Commemorative Week, which runs through Sunday with daily activities or observances. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "“Day of Reflection” marks San Antonio’s Tricentennial," 1 May 2018 Therefore, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting, and programming. NBC News, "Trump administration's religious liberty guidance a 'license to discriminate,' report says," 10 Apr. 2018 The president getting his briefing from the DHS director -- the DHS secretary, as well as the FEMA director, after going to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, this morning for his second observance of the September 11 anniversary, 17 now in total. Fox News, "Former NYSE chair on reopening Stock Exchange after 9/11," 12 Sep. 2018 Each year, Good Friday lands on the Friday before the liturgical observance of Easter Sunday, which varies year-by-year. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Good Friday? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 13 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'observance.' 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 observance

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for observance

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for observance

The first known use of observance was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for observance



English Language Learners Definition of observance

: the practice of following a custom, rule, law, etc.
: an act that is part of a ceremony or ritual


ob·​ser·​vance | \ əb-ˈzər-vəns How to pronounce observance (audio) \

Kids Definition of observance

1 : an established practice or ceremony religious observances
2 : an act of following a custom, rule, or law Careful observance of the speed limit is a wise idea.

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Comments on observance

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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