ob·​serv·​er | \ əb-ˈzər-vər How to pronounce observer (audio) \

Definition of observer

: one that observes: such as
a : a representative sent to observe but not participate officially in an activity (such as a meeting or war)
b : an expert analyst and commentator in a particular field political observers

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Examples of observer in a Sentence

According to one observer, the event was poorly organized. The star is not visible to an observer without a telescope. According to one military observer, this change comes after years of planning. Observers say the economy is improving. The class has an observer today, so please be on your best behavior.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In the case of both the sterling flash crash and Thursday’s sudden yen surge, some market observers were quick to blame specific events for the moves. Mike Bird, WSJ, "The Twilight Trading Hour Strikes Currency Markets Again," 3 Jan. 2019 The argument wasn’t really taken that seriously at the time — besides, most observers were laser-focused on the companion challenge to the individual mandate’s constitutionality. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Is the new Obamacare lawsuit headed to the Supreme Court?," 17 Dec. 2018 After years of steady growth and low interest rates, many observers anticipate a correction, especially in the face new technology, generational and demographic changes, the rise of new markets, and the continued winding-down of traditional retail. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "The 10 top emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019," 10 Oct. 2018 Western election observers were in Zimbabwe, reflecting a freer political environment since the November resignation of Mugabe, who had ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980. Christopher Torchia, Fox News, "Zimbabwe awaits results as election officials count ballots," 31 July 2018 After it was viciously gutted last month, many observers thought California’s net neutrality bill was a lost cause. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "A revamped California net neutrality bill is moving forward again," 5 July 2018 Dixon took a seat as an observer — that’s a non-voting member — on its board and because of his reputation has been one of the key validators of the company externally. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "How an $8 billion Silicon Valley startup has shared talent with one of its most prominent investors," 26 Nov. 2018 Hardly anyone understands how a blockchain works, and even experts don't have a good way to observe the online voting process for irregularities the way an election observer does in a traditional paper election. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Blockchain-based elections would be a disaster for democracy," 6 Nov. 2018 Those war images became well-known, as Meiselas built her name as an observer of a movement that defied U.S. influence in Central America in the late 1970s. David D’arcy,, "Susan Meiselas photography retrospective at SFMOMA," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'observer.' 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 observer

circa 1550, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for observer

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for observer

The first known use of observer was circa 1550

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More Definitions for observer



English Language Learners Definition of observer

: a person who sees and notices someone or something
: a person who pays close attention to something and is considered to be an expert on that thing
: a person who is present at something (such as a meeting) in order to watch and listen to what happens

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More from Merriam-Webster on observer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with observer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for observer

Spanish Central: Translation of observer

Nglish: Translation of observer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of observer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on observer

What made you want to look up observer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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