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

The dust itself was tracked by observations made a year apart, which allowed the researchers to figure out its relative motion. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Scientists spot two massive stars creating a pinwheel of dust," 20 Nov. 2018 Such radio waves also have huge wavelengths, in the tens and hundreds of meters, so observations could require a telescope a few kilometers across, Manchester estimates. Steve Nadis, Discover Magazine, "The Tiny Satellites That Might Fly to Another Solar System," 18 Oct. 2018 Confirmation could come quickly with further observations, however. Mike Wall, Space.com, "First Exomoon Found? Neptune-Sized World Possibly Spotted Orbiting Alien Planet," 3 Oct. 2018 The spacecraft is set to release a German-French lander called MASCOT carrying four observation devices in early October and a bigger rover called Minerva-II-2 next year. Fox News, "Japan space rovers lowered to asteroid to collect data," 21 Sep. 2018 Other optical observations completed the puzzle by measuring the distance to blazar TXS 0506+056: about four billion light years from Earth. Smithsonian, "Scientists Explain The Thrill of Detecting a Neutrino From a Far-Off Galaxy," 12 July 2018 The report later submitted included McMullen’s observations about Whalen’s speech, dexterity and writing ability. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Washington State Patrol detective violated woman’s rights with ruse, hidden cameras, court rules," 13 Nov. 2018 He and Teachey hope to make that additional observation with Hubble. Mike Wall, Space.com, "First Exomoon Found? Neptune-Sized World Possibly Spotted Orbiting Alien Planet," 3 Oct. 2018 During the Clarence Thomas hearings, nearly three decades ago Chairman Biden made some interesting observations about FBI reports and their role in this process. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Every time Ford and Kavanaugh answered the question — and didn't answer the question," 28 Sep. 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

6 Dec 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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