observation

noun
ob·​ser·​va·​tion | \ ˌäb-sər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce observation (audio) , -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 How to pronounce observational (audio) , -​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

This map of our sky represents the first 22 months of NICER’s work, taking data from its nighttime observations. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "NASA captures stunning photo of the entire sky in X-ray," 3 June 2019 While the boss’ feedback is important and helpful, don’t lose the art of crafting your own observations and assessments. Liz Bentley, Marie Claire, "How to Get Promoted at Work In 3 Steps, According to a Career Coach," 9 May 2019 Some of his throwaway observations, like the shot of a kid sniffing a highlighter pen in class, feel like something out of a wildlife documentary. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Bo Burnham's 'Eighth Grade' is a beautifully honest portrait of adolescent girlhood," 11 July 2018 Fine writing, closely detailed social observations, the presentation of complex moral dilemmas or heartbreaking love affairs—any graduate of a college writing program can manage these. Michael Dirda, WSJ, "A Trove of Vivid Villains," 3 May 2019 The observations, taken between Feb. 17 and Feb. 24, illustrated the 19-year-old's seemingly odd behavior in the days after the shooting. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Nikolas Cruz indicted on 17 counts of murder, jail records reveal odd behavior in days after Florida massacre," 2 Oct. 2018 The interns work in local forecast offices to make weather observations, monitor systems for signals of severe weather and formulate forecasts based on the data, Erickson said. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: National Weather Service makes dozens of hires as new hurricane season begins," 4 June 2018 In July 1947, Army officials said that the wreckage of a mysterious object found on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico, were the remnants of a weather observation balloon, not an alien spacecraft. sandiegouniontribune.com, "July 9, 1947: Summer of flying saucers," 9 July 2018 She was then arrested at the monument’s observation point. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Woman Climbs Statue of Liberty to Protest Family Separations, Island Shut Down," 5 July 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 and Adjective

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

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Statistics for observation

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce observation (audio) , -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- How to pronounce observation (audio) \

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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Comments on observation

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