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.
Recent Examples of observe from the Web
That investigation identified two people observed by security cameras as lurking near Sheremet’s car the night before the blast, and identified one of them as a former agent of the national security service, the SBU.
Bannon’s reading eventually led him to the work of René Guénon, an early-20th-century French occultist and metaphysician who was raised a Roman Catholic, practiced Freemasonry, and later became a Sufi Muslim who observed the Sharia.
Williams was stationed at the opposite side of the building, observing a woman who had stepped out of a late-model Oldsmobile to pace around the parking lot.
Suddenly, gone were the days when observing the G20 was like watching paint dry.
To this day, Kelly is shy with strangers, enjoys his own company and prefers to observe rather than engage.
The vehicle belonging to Christensen was first observed in an apartment complex parking lot on June 12 — just days after Zhang went missing — and investigators questioned him.
During analyst visits, officials observe work habits, such as how miners operate equipment, lift and perform other tasks, said Jim Vicini, director of Kentucky’s Division of Mine Safety.
Binoculars are a simple and inexpensive alternative to telescopes for surveying the night sky, and a pair that's safe for solar viewing are also a great option for observing the sun (during an eclipse or otherwise).
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'observe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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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