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 The mushroom cloud reached an altitude of 210,000 feet, people observed the flash through bad weather at 621 miles, and an observer felt heat from the explosion at a distance of 168 miles. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What Would Happen If We Nuked the Challenger Deep With 1 Million Tsar Bombas," 13 Nov. 2020 There were three soldiers shot during that mission on Nov. 11, 1969 — Brown, who was an observer and door gunner; Schoville, who was a pilot, and Bobby Baker, who was Brown’s pilot that day. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Decades after being shot on Veterans Day in 1969, soldiers reunite at grave of lost comrade," 11 Nov. 2020 Any observer trying to reconstruct what Powell and Davies did can make only informed guesses—piecing together the narrative like an archeologist deducing the past from scant clues. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Curse of the Buried Treasure," 9 Nov. 2020 In that case, a Republican election observer said she’d been given a sticky note by an unnamed poll worker, alleging that late-arriving ballots were being counted improperly. Anchorage Daily News, "Here are the GOP and Trump campaign’s allegations of election irregularities. So far, none have been proved.," 9 Nov. 2020 All individuals were free to move back and forth between rooms and observer areas, were frequently provided status updates, and staff were available for questions from those individuals. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Trump campaign files Pennsylvania lawsuit to stop certification of election results," 9 Nov. 2020 For a distant observer, the difference between the light ring and the horizon is academic, but for an astronaut en route into the black hole, the difference is existential. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, "Black Hole Are Finally Trending," 7 Nov. 2020 Also, a political committee formed for the express purpose of advocating the passage or defeat of an issue on the ballot can have an observer for each polling location. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Taking time to count votes 'is not a sign of misconduct or chaos': How states prevent election fraud," 6 Nov. 2020 Last year a crew from UC Davis concluded that on an average day, an observer could see 62.7 feet through the lake’s waters. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, "The latest from these corners of AZ, GA, NV and PA is ... nothing. It’s awesome," 6 Nov. 2020

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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Observer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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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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