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 solemnity surrounding this perennial observance suggests the initiation ritual of a really square fraternity. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 By June 14, 1894, Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn organized, in Illinois, the American Flag Day Association which encouraged 300,000 Chicago school children to participate in patriotic observances. Ron Browning, baltimoresun.com, "Havre de Grace: Pirate Fest at the Lock House on Saturday," 14 June 2019 The new board members helping guide the chapel from current off-site projects and observances to the reopening of the Chapel have a varied set of qualifications. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Rothko Chapel to celebrate Summer Solstice, welcomes new board members," 12 June 2019 Randy Berry, the ambassador to Nepal and the Obama administration's special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons, tweeted a pride observance at the beginning of the month along with his embassy staff all dressed in rainbow colors. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Mike Pence says banning pride flags at US embassies is 'the right decision'," 11 June 2019 One of the largest group observances was held at a San Diego High school general assembly this morning led by W.E. Hamman. The Tribune-sun, San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: 75 years ago the Allies stormed beachheads in France," 6 June 2019 In France, Normandy was awash with ceremonies and reenactments of key moments in the campaign ahead of Thursday’s observances. Washington Post, "French beaches at dawn set scene for solemn D-Day observance," 6 June 2019 Literally anything goes at The Spot, particularly in the later hours -- the place is too small and too crowded for any strict observance of social etiquette. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Think South Beach is crazy now? Here's what the club scene was like in 1994 | Miami Herald," 5 May 2018 Plus, the observance of Nyepi is actually sandwiched between two celebratory days that can be a wonder to behold, especially when placed in contrast to the total shut-down of Nyepi. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Bali Will Go Dark on Saturday," 15 Mar. 2018

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

19 Jun 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

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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