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

In some ways, it could be seen as an accomplishment that CdM would be an obvious choice to participate in such an event, among other programs like Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Los Alamitos, Tesoro, La Habra, San Juan Hills and Yorba Linda. Matt Szabo, Daily Pilot, "CdM football shows it belongs at media day with top O.C. public schools," 14 Aug. 2019 The road to Detroit Watching the second day of the 2016 MLB draft with friends and family, Schreiber’s preference was obvious. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "How John Schreiber made it from Rockwood to CoPa: “The kid does things the right way”," 11 Aug. 2019 Heather Taylor, president of a local black union with nearly 19 years on the force, said the problem is obvious. Jeff Pegues, CBS News, ""I don't think I was doing it incorrectly to begin with": Phoenix officer questions racial bias training," 7 Aug. 2019 The difference between the two displays is obvious at even a first glance. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ hands-on: A new model changes the game, for better or worse," 7 Aug. 2019 When building a lake house, the top priority is obvious: Capitalize on the waterfront views. Carla Jean Whitley, al.com, "This home on Smith Lake perfectly frames its surroundings," 13 July 2019 Ford then declined, after the depth of the problem was obvious, to make an expensive change in the transmission technology. Freep.com, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION: OUT OF GEAR Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway," 11 July 2019 In 1995 and 1998, the Fed made a series of quarter-point cuts to guard against rising recession risks despite few obvious signs of a slowdown, taking out what amounted to an insurance policy. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Jerome Powell Says Outlook Hasn’t Improved in Recent Weeks, Setting Stage for Rate Cut," 10 July 2019 The game-breaking speed was obvious returning punts last season, but opportunities were limited. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "How Jaylen Waddle wants to improve in ‘creative’ Alabama offense," 24 Aug. 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

27 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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