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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
And all of that counting is transparent, under observation by observers of both parties. David Becker, CBS News, 11 Nov. 2022 For 40 years, the people of Limone sul Garda have been under scientific observation, with gene-carrying villagers tested as lab rats. Silvia Marchetti, CNN, 20 Oct. 2022 Three others cases were linked to the outbreak, and those three people are under observation and receiving treatment, the health ministry said. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 3 Sep. 2022 Seven of the monkeys died, while the others are under observation at a zoo in São José do Rio Preto, a municipality in the state of São Paulo. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2022 Under immense time pressure and under the observation of the public, decisions have to be made that determine life and death. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 7 July 2022 A year ago to the day, Pope Francis was under observation following a colon surgery. Alexandra Schonfeld, PEOPLE.com, 4 July 2022 Awuzie, in his second season with the Bengals, headed to the blue tent for observation after trainers checked him out on the sideline. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 1 Nov. 2022 The party has no plans to encourage more people to sign up for observation. Blake Apgar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Oct. 2022
Adjective
Other pre-observation activities and further tests are set to be conducted this week. Julia Musto, Fox News, 17 Mar. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'observation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 26 Nov. 2022.

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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