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obey

[oh-bey]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of: to obey one's parents.
  2. to comply with or follow (a command, restriction, wish, instruction, etc.).
  3. (of things) to respond conformably in action to: The car obeyed the slightest touch of the steering wheel.
  4. to submit or conform in action to (some guiding principle, impulse, one's conscience, etc.).
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verb (used without object)
  1. to be obedient: to agree to obey.
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Origin of obey

1250–1300; Middle English obeien < Old French obeir < Latin oboedīre, equivalent to ob- ob- + audīre to hear; -oe- for expected -ū- is unclear
Related formso·bey·a·ble, adjectiveo·bey·er, nouno·bey·ing·ly, adverbun·o·beyed, adjectiveun·o·bey·ing, adjectivewell-o·beyed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for obey

obey

verb
  1. to carry out (instructions or orders); comply with (demands)
  2. to behave or act in accordance with (one's feelings, whims, etc)
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Derived Formsobeyer, noun

Word Origin

C13: from Old French obéir, from Latin oboedīre, from ob- to, towards + audīre to hear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for obey

v.

late 13c., from Old French obeir "obey, be obedient, do one's duty" (12c.), from Latin obedire, oboedire "obey, be subject, serve; pay attention to, give ear," literally "listen to," from ob "to" (see ob-) + audire "listen, hear" (see audience). Same sense development is in cognate Old English hiersumnian. Related: Obeyed; obeying.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper