ob·​vi·​ous | \ ˈäb-vē-əs How to pronounce obvious (audio) \

Definition of obvious

1 : easily discovered, seen, or understood It was obvious that things weren't working out. She stayed for obvious reasons.
2 archaic : being in the way or in front

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Other Words from obvious

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yvonne Abraham If the findings of a state report on traffic congestion (very bad, indeed!) were blindingly obvious to you, consider poor old Fred Salvucci. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Charlie Baker’s traffic report offers hope to North Shore commuters," 10 Aug. 2019 The rising standard of women’s football is obvious to long-time spectators. Fox News, "French mayor dies after trying to stop illegal dumping: report," 8 Aug. 2019 But there were other, less obvious Easter eggs thrown into the premiere too — including a literal one. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "5 Shocking Moments From the ‘90210’ Reboot Premiere," 8 Aug. 2019 One obvious way to ensure the long-term health of its stock is for Jumia to show a sustainable path to profitability. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Jumia’s shares have dropped below its IPO price as speculators and shorts hover," 6 Aug. 2019 There are also less obvious nods to the original, like setting scenes at airports—a favorite trick of earlier romantic comedies. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "All the Secret Ways Hulu's Four Weddings and a Funeral Pays Tribute to the Movie," 3 Aug. 2019 One obvious way to prolong the decision-making process is to push the deadline back to mid- or late August, when the standings are more defined with fewer contenders, thus giving fringe teams more time to evaluate themselves and make up their minds. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Critical time for Giants, other teams to make tough calls on future," 27 July 2019 All of this is fairly obvious to anybody who walks or rides a bike. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Why You Should Care That Fewer Kids Are Riding Bikes," 25 July 2019 Of course, there was the bickering at Comic-Con, which was obvious to anyone who took the time to check out the videos from the event, and then just the fact that the two apparently have very different personalities and clashing lifestyles. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Cole Sprouse is Reportedly the One Who Initiated His Alleged Breakup with Lili Reinhart," 25 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obvious.' 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 obvious

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obvious

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

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Statistics for obvious

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for obvious

The first known use of obvious was in 1583

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English Language Learners Definition of obvious

: easy to see or notice
: easy for the mind to understand or recognize


ob·​vi·​ous | \ ˈäb-vē-əs How to pronounce obvious (audio) \

Kids Definition of obvious

: easily found, seen, or understood He … held on to me, even after it was obvious that I was not going to fall.— Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

Other Words from obvious

obviously adverb
obviousness noun



Legal Definition of obvious

: 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.

Other Words from obvious

obviousness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on obvious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obvious

Spanish Central: Translation of obvious

Nglish: Translation of obvious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obvious for Arabic Speakers

Comments on obvious

What made you want to look up obvious? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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