observation

noun
ob·ser·va·tion | \ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən, -zər-\

Definition of observation 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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.

2a : 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 1) 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

observation

adjective

Definition of observation (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from observation

Noun

observational \ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl, -zər- \ adjective
observationally adverb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

According to Beach, the city was already in the process of drainage studies throughout various places based on observations and concerns from residents. Rebecca Hazen, Houston Chronicle, "West University Place conducts drainage study," 7 July 2018 Having prepared the ingredients for an epic, Mr. Gessen has fashioned another work of narrow confessional realism that trucks in mundane observations and rueful ironies—something that feels, unfortunately, very American indeed. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Young and Privileged and Perpetually at Sea," 5 July 2018 This is a great way to take an observation and change things or at least have a conversation. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Gender pay inequality starts at home. Parents pay boys twice as much allowance as girls," 3 July 2018 The daily observation and recording of pill-taking evolved from worries that people would stop taking the medication too soon or take it incorrectly and get sick again. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Meet the city health worker who tracks down tuberculosis patients in Anchorage," 3 July 2018 Using surveys, observations and interviews, scientists followed the children from ages 12 to 14 to see what effect parental conflict can have on children, and if different family dynamics change anything. Josh Magness, miamiherald, "Fighting parents can be unhealthy for kids — but a close brother or sister helps, study says," 25 June 2018 His hero, mentor and friend was the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, who printed many of Bellingham’s observations and witticism over the years and whose style clearly influenced Bellingham, down to the use of the ellipsis — or three dots. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Memorial set for Bruce Bellingham, newspaper columnist, master of the one-liner," 13 June 2018 The agents are programmed to follow rules and tendencies identified in humans through psychological experiments, ethnographic observation and social analysis. Wesley Wildman, Smithsonian, "How Computer Scientists Model the Role of Religion in Society," 11 June 2018 No one was hurt, thanks to Mannino's observation and reaction, according to authorities via the Facebook post. Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, "'You're OK, you're OK': Naperville cop rescues toddler running in traffic on busy Route 59," 11 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of observation

Noun

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

Adjective

1862, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for observation

Noun

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

Adjective

see observation entry 1

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Statistics for observation

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for observation

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

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More Definitions for observation

observation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of observation

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a statement about something you have noticed : a comment or remark

: the act of careful watching and listening : the activity of paying close attention to someone or something in order to get information

: something you notice by watching and listening

observation

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of observation (Entry 2 of 2)

: designed to be used while watching people or things

observation

noun
ob·ser·va·tion | \ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən, -zər-\

Kids Definition of observation

1 : an act or the power of seeing or taking notice of something His detailed description shows great powers of observation.

2 : the gathering of information by noting facts or occurrences weather observations

3 : an opinion formed or expressed after watching or noticing It's not a criticism, just an observation.

4 : the fact of being watched and studied The patient was in the hospital for observation.

observation

noun
ob·ser·va·tion | \ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən, -zər- \

Medical Definition of observation 

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

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