ob·​vi·​ous ˈäb-vē-əs How to pronounce obvious (audio)
: easily discovered, seen, or understood
It was obvious that things weren't working out.
She stayed for obvious reasons.
archaic : being in the way or in front
obviousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for obvious

evident, manifest, patent, distinct, obvious, apparent, plain, clear mean readily perceived or apprehended.

evident implies presence of visible signs that lead one to a definite conclusion.

an evident fondness for sweets

manifest implies an external display so evident that little or no inference is required.

manifest hostility

patent applies to a cause, effect, or significant feature that is clear and unmistakable once attention has been directed to it.

patent defects

distinct implies such sharpness of outline or definition that no unusual effort to see or hear or comprehend is required.

a distinct refusal

obvious implies such ease in discovering that it often suggests conspicuousness or little need for perspicacity in the observer.

the obvious solution

apparent is very close to evident except that it may imply more conscious exercise of inference.

for no apparent reason

plain suggests lack of intricacy, complexity, or elaboration.

her feelings about him are plain

clear implies an absence of anything that confuses the mind or obscures the pattern.

a clear explanation

Examples of obvious in a Sentence

Her doctor immediately noticed the obvious signs of the disease. She saw only the most obvious differences. It was obvious that things weren't working out. The answer seems obvious enough to me. The problem was immediately obvious to everyone in the room. He was the obvious candidate for president. The obvious question is: how did he become so successful? For obvious reasons, I would not like to reveal my name.
Recent Examples on the Web Holly Humberstone Gets Vulnerable About Her 'Double Life' as a Singer and Homebody on Her New Album (Exclusive) Not surprisingly, there is also strains of country that can be heard throughout the songs of Country, an obvious nod to Carpenter's family history. Tricia Despres, Peoplemag, 22 May 2024 The problems are obvious, including ethical and practical land mines. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 20 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for obvious 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obvious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin obvius, from obviam in the way, from ob in the way of + viam, accusative of via way — more at ob-, via

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of obvious was in 1583

Dictionary Entries Near obvious

Cite this Entry

“Obvious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obvious. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ob·​vi·​ous ˈäb-vē-əs How to pronounce obvious (audio)
: easily found, seen, or understood : plain
an obvious mistake
obviousness noun

Legal Definition


: easily seen, discovered, or understood
specifically : readily apparent to a person of ordinary skill in a particular art considering the scope and content of the prior art see also patent

Note: An invention that is found to be obvious cannot be patented.

obviousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on obvious

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