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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The Sandinistas also won elections in 1984 that most European observers deemed fair and honest. Jeffrey L. Gould, The New Republic, "Making Sense of Bernie’s Sandinista Sympathies," 6 June 2019 Greece must hold new elections no later than October, but most observers expect Mr. Tsipras to call them earlier—most likely in May, to coincide with polls for the European Parliament and local government. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Greek Premier Narrowly Wins Confidence Vote," 16 Jan. 2019 But most observers in Moscow accept that—on Russia at least—he is still constrained by a Congress and foreign policy establishment deeply suspicious of Putin. Anna Arutunyan, Time, "No Matter What Happens in Helsinki, Putin Has Already Won," 10 July 2018 Most Trenton observers doubt Murphy wants to take up the issue. Andrew Seidman,, "Analysis: Shutdown averted in N.J., but no lasting peace among Dems," 2 July 2018 Political observers thought early on that could change with Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and tough stance on those living in the country illegally, but resistance to Trump on immigration failed to have a measurable impact in the governor's race. Angela Hart, sacbee, "Four takeaways from the California governor's race," 6 June 2018 Risch, an Idaho Republican, told reporters on Monday that the representatives from the working group would act as observers in order to get the Senate involved on the front end of any potential treaty that they would be asked to approve. Sophie Tatum, CNN, "Members of Senate working group will attend future talks with North Korea, Idaho senator says," 11 June 2018 Todd Eberly, a professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an observer of state politics, said Quirk has natural advantages in both incumbency and the size of his war chest. Cody Boteler,, "Incumbent Quirk, with fewer donors, spending and raising more than primary opponent Ruth in county council race," 30 May 2018 For a theorist, an observer or an experimentalist, dark matter is a promising target for research. Lisa Randall, Scientific American, "What Is Dark Matter?," 8 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of observer

circa 1550, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about observer

Statistics for observer

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for observer

The first known use of observer was circa 1550

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!