observation

1 of 2

noun

ob·​ser·​va·​tion ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce observation (audio)
-zər-
1
a
: an act or instance of observing a custom, rule, or law
observation of the dress code
b
: observance sense 3
The characters in her novel are based on close observation of her family.
2
a
: an act of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence often involving measurement with instruments
weather observations
b
: a record or description so obtained
Scientific observations were sent to the committee.
3
: a judgment on or inference (see inference sense 2) from what one has observed
broadly : remark, statement
an insightful observation
based his observations on his own research
4
obsolete : attentive care : heed
5
: the condition of one that is observed
under observation at the hospital
observational adjective
observationally adverb

observation

2 of 2

adjective

: designed for use in viewing something (such as scenery) or in making observations
an observation tower
the observation platform

Examples of observation in a Sentence

Noun I'm not criticizing that kind of clothing. I'm just making an observation about the style. Her constant observations about the weather bored me. These facts are based on close observation of the birds in the wild. Observations made using the telescope have led to new theories. Some interesting observations came from the study. He recorded his observations in a notebook.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The breakdown of recent April 8 cloud-cover observations looks like this: Fair — 5 days Partly cloudy — 3 days Mostly cloudy — 6 days Cloudy — 10 days No solar eclipse glasses? John Tufts, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Apr. 2024 This result was corroborated by amateur observations from across the country during the 2017 eclipse, as part of a project called Life Responds. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 These stakes made eclipse prediction and observation even more important, with scientists dispatched to all corners of the Earth with strict instructions on where exactly to be and which data to record. Joshua Sokol, Quanta Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 Instilled with the real life protagonists own observations, the film also gains in a sense of authenticity. John Hopewell, Variety, 3 Apr. 2024 The findings were possible thanks to more than a decade’s worth of eclipse observations, according to NASA. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 3 Apr. 2024 In the new study, an international team of scientists used data from observations from the SAMI Galaxy Survey. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 3 Apr. 2024 In my observation, the key to investing in this generalist approach in early career is mainly psychological; FOMO is real. Ebony Flake, Essence, 2 Apr. 2024 In that long process of observation and recordkeeping, something else happened too: Eclipses helped compel humans to both develop and reveal our inmost capacity for a new and precise kind of reasoning that could be applied to the world. Adam Frank, The Atlantic, 1 Apr. 2024
Adjective
Other pre-observation activities and further tests are set to be conducted this week. Julia Musto, Fox News, 17 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'observation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Adjective

Middle French, from Latin observation-, observatio, from observare

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1862, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of observation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near observation

Cite this Entry

“Observation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/observation. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

observation

noun
ob·​ser·​va·​tion
ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən,
-zər-
1
: an act or an instance of observing a custom, rule, or law
2
: an act or the power of seeing or fixing the mind upon something
3
: an act of gathering information (as for scientific studies) by noting facts or occurrences
weather observations
4
: an opinion formed or expressed after observing
5
: the state of being observed
was in the hospital for observation
observational
-shnəl
-shən-ᵊl
adjective

Medical Definition

observation

noun
ob·​ser·​va·​tion ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən, -zər- How to pronounce observation (audio)
1
: the noting of a fact or occurrence (as in nature) often involving the measurement of some magnitude with suitable instruments
temperature observations
also : a record so obtained
2
: close watch or examination (as to monitor or diagnose a condition)
postoperative observation
psychiatric observation

More from Merriam-Webster on observation

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