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 Still, observers said big emissions emitters like China, the United States and India need to stop shirking their responsibilities. Anchorage Daily News, "Longest UN climate talks end with no deal on carbon markets," 15 Dec. 2019 Market observers say much of the damage that has already been done cannot be easily undone. NBC News, "Trump confirms U.S. and China have reached agreement on trade deal," 13 Dec. 2019 The two economic superpowers have been engaged in a trade war for nearly two years, locking horns over what observers say is a larger battle over who will control the technologies of the future. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "China reportedly bans foreign technology in its government and public offices," 9 Dec. 2019 None of North Korea’s three intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2017 was conducted at the Sohae site, but observers said the site was used to test engines for ICBMs. Hyung-jin Kim,, "North Korea conducts ‘important test’ at once-dismantled rocket launch site," 8 Dec. 2019 None of North Korea's three intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2017 was conducted at the Sohae site, but observers said the site was used to test engines for ICBMs. Arkansas Online, "N. Korea conducts 'important test' at once-dismantled site," 8 Dec. 2019 If Miami kills the deal, Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium likely would be the team’s home base beyond the current two-year schedule, observers say. Susannah Bryan,, "Inter Miami soccer team could remain in Fort Lauderdale longer than expected," 12 Nov. 2019 Industry observers said the dollar total was influenced by the need to make up lost wages sustained during a six-week strike that paid only $275 a week in wages. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Ford UAW workers to get $9,000 contract signing bonus, sources say," 31 Oct. 2019 Many observers say the debate grew louder three or four years ago. The Economist, "Germans still don’t agree on what reunification meant," 31 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for observer

Time Traveler

The first known use of observer was circa 1550

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Statistics for observer

Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Observer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for observer


How to pronounce observer (audio)

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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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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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