observe

verb
ob·​serve | \ əb-ˈzərv How to pronounce observe (audio) \
observed; observing

Definition of observe

transitive verb

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 children
b : 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."

intransitive verb

1a : to take notice When your teacher is demonstrating something, sit up and observe!
b : to make observations : watch Perform your tricks, and we will observe.
2 : remark, comment In her speech she observed on the changing climate.

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Other Words from observe

observingly \ əb-​ˈzər-​viŋ-​lē How to pronounce observingly (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for observe

keep, observe, celebrate, commemorate mean to notice or honor a day, occasion, or deed. keep stresses the idea of not neglecting or violating. kept the Sabbath by refraining from work observe suggests marking the occasion by ceremonious performance. not all holidays are observed nationally celebrate suggests acknowledging an occasion by festivity. traditionally celebrates Thanksgiving with a huge dinner commemorate suggests that an occasion is marked by observances that remind one of the origin and significance of the event. commemorate Memorial Day with the laying of wreaths

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web As someone who's been spending serious time observing how people use emoji over the past few years, my hunch was no. Wired, "New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don't Have to Be," 8 Nov. 2019 Subramanian spent nine days observing three preschool classrooms in New Delhi. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz India, "A surprisingly easy proposal to tackle gender inequality in Indian schools," 4 Nov. 2019 Telescopes and binoculars help to bring out these colors, which can be quite subtle so pay attention when observing. Arnold Pearlstein, sun-sentinel.com, "The Stars This Week: Nov. 3 - 9," 3 Nov. 2019 The Westminster Astronomical Society is planning to hold public observing on the day of the transit. Curtis Roelle, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Star Points: Mercury to transit sun on Veterans Day," 2 Nov. 2019 Olesen said, as evidenced by many out-of-state license plates observed in the parking lot. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From O&H Danish Bakery to Stockholm Pie, these are must-visit Wisconsin bakeries," 1 Nov. 2019 This discovery allowed them to point to the specific molecular interactions that can inhibit skin inflammation in an animal model of psoriasis which is similar to the skin pathology observed in plaque psoriasis. Sun Pharmaceuticals, WIRED, "IL-23: The Master Regulator Behind Plaque Psoriasis," 30 Oct. 2019 The two recorded a remake of the 1944 classic after last holiday season, when some observed that aspects of the original song were a bit problematic when viewed through a modern lens. Marianne Garvey, CNN, "John Legend and Kelly Clarkson are updating 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'," 28 Oct. 2019 Neda Farid-Farhoumand, executive vice president of the Glendale Council PTA, praised Portantino’s effort and said some in Glendale had been observing the late-start process intently. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Disappointment, appreciation expressed after bill for later start times for schools is signed into law," 15 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of observe

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for observe

Middle English, from Anglo-French observer, from Latin observare to guard, watch, observe, from ob- in the way, toward + servare to keep — more at conserve

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Statistics for observe

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for observe

The first known use of observe was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for observe

observe

verb
How to pronounce observe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of observe

: 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

verb
ob·​serve | \ əb-ˈzərv How to pronounce observe (audio) \
observed; observing

Kids Definition of observe

1 : to watch carefully They observed her behavior.
2 : to act in agreement with : obey Remember to observe the law.
3 : celebrate sense 1 Next Friday we will observe a religious holiday.
4 : remark entry 2, say “Those are some big ears he's got, too,” observed his uncle Alfred.— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux

Other Words from observe

observer noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on observe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for observe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with observe

Spanish Central: Translation of observe

Nglish: Translation of observe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of observe for Arabic Speakers

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