ob·​ser·​vance | \ əb-ˈzər-vən(t)s \

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

If the dance programs aren’t splashy enough, viewers will have a chance to be literally doused with Armenian culture in July 8, when that country’s observance of Vardavar will be part of the Folklife Festival. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian, "How Armenian Dance Adapted Over Time and Place," 26 June 2018 My own levels of religious observance have waxed and waned over the years, but I’ve always been drawn to synagogues as sites of both Jewish and collective memory. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 2018 Today, Asiya sells three different sports hijab models in four colors, each offering a different amount of coverage for clients’ varying levels of observance. Ruqaya Izzidien, Outside Online, "Fatimah Hussein Is America's Sports Hijab Pioneer," 6 June 2018 National Day of Prayer observance 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Capitol Avenue, S.W., Atlanta, across from the Capitol. Brian O'shea, ajc, "5 places to observe National Day of Prayer in Atlanta," 2 May 2018 Although the prophet’s birthday is widely commemorated in the Islamic world, ultraconservative Sunnis view such observances as blasphemous. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Bomber Kills Dozens at Afghanistan Religious Meeting," 21 Nov. 2018 Juneteenth celebrates the effective ending of slavery and is now marked by an official day of observance in many states, including Massachusetts. BostonGlobe.com, "At Juneteenth, black Bostonians celebrate identity, unity in spirited cookout," 16 June 2018 President Harry Truman later signed Flag Day's permanent observance into law in 1949. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Flag Day: Why we celebrate on June 14," 14 June 2018 When the Pew data about religiosity is tracked against a country’s relative wealth equality or inequality, rather than GDP, the United States’ religious observance is no longer statistically anomalous. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Study: most wealthy countries aren’t religious. Then there’s the US.," 1 Aug. 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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Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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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 \

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).


to gather or build up little by little

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