Definition of observe
1 : to conform one's action or practice to (something, such as a law, rite, or condition) : comply with failed to observe the law and as a consequence had to pay a fine
2 : to inspect or take note of as an augury, omen, or presage observed the flight of the sacred geese
3 : to celebrate or solemnize (something, such as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted way observed Independence Day with a parade
4a : to watch carefully especially with attention to details or behavior for the purpose of arriving at a judgment observed the behavior of the childrenb : to make a scientific observation on or of observed the mating habits of the grouse
5 : to come to realize or know especially through consideration of noted facts … observed that the indefinite reduction of any given risk to society often brings with it an increase in other risks. — E. L. Zebroski
6 : to utter as a remark “The paint,” she observed, “is already starting to peel.”
observinglyplay \əb-ˈzər-viŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples of observe in a sentence
The class will be observing the movements of fish.
The patient must be observed constantly.
Children learn by observing their parents and others.
The new teacher will give the lesson today and the principal will observe.
We observed a large flock of birds heading north.
He observed two children playing with marbles on the street corner.
She observed that every man in the room had removed his hat.
Few cases of the disease have been observed in humans.
Origin and Etymology of observe
Middle English, from Anglo-French observer, from Latin observare to guard, watch, observe, from ob- in the way, toward + servare to keep — more at conserve
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of observe
OBSERVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of observe for English Language Learners
: to watch and sometimes also listen to (someone or something) carefully
: to see and notice (someone or something)
: to make a comment about something you notice
OBSERVE Defined for Kids
Definition of observe for Students
1 : to watch carefully They observed her behavior.
2 : to act in agreement with : obey Remember to observe the law.
3 : celebrate 1 Next Friday we will observe a religious holiday.
Seen and Heard
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