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[ob-zur-vey-shuh n] /ˌɒb zɜrˈveɪ ʃən/
an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.
an act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.
the faculty or habit of observing or noticing.
to escape a person's observation.
an act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrence for some scientific or other special purpose:
the observation of blood pressure under stress.
the information or record secured by such an act.
something that is learned in the course of observing things:
My observation is that such clouds mean a storm.
a remark, comment, or statement based on what one has noticed or observed.
the condition of being observed.
  1. the measurement of the altitude or azimuth of a heavenly body for navigational purposes.
  2. the information obtained by such a measurement.
Obsolete. observance, as of the law.
Origin of observation
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin observātiōn- (stem of observātiō), equivalent to observāt(us) (past participle of observāre to observe) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonobservation, noun
preobservation, noun
reobservation, noun
self-observation, noun
Can be confused
observance, observation.
3. attention. 8. pronouncement, opinion.
Synonym Study
8. See remark. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for self-observation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Psychology, resting on self-observation, is pronounced a delusion.

    Christianity and Greek Philosophy Benjamin Franklin Cocker
  • So far as self-observation throws any light on the matter, this statement appears to be correct.

    Criminal Psychology Hans Gross
  • But the very keenness of his self-observation gradually brings him healing: a mastery of the body by the brain.

  • They are not quite so new to the world, to experimental labor in the business of tuition, or to self-observation.

  • It can only be determined by practised self-consciousness and self-observation, assisted by observation of others.

    Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill
  • Once he has spoken he can improve himself by self-observation or according to the criticisms of those who hear.

    The Art of Public Speaking Dale Carnagey (AKA Dale Carnegie) and J. Berg Esenwein
  • Upon the ground alone that substance be the object of self-observation, as cause is said to be.

  • In the adult mind the disturbing influence of self-observation is a matter of notorious moment.

    The Story of the Mind James Mark Baldwin
  • Speaking simply from self-observation, I find that in my own case tea and coffee are far more perilous than tobacco.

    The Intellectual Life =Philip Gilbert Hamerton
British Dictionary definitions for self-observation


the act of observing or the state of being observed
a comment or remark
detailed examination of phenomena prior to analysis, diagnosis, or interpretation: the patient was under observation
the facts learned from observing
an obsolete word for observance
  1. a sight taken with an instrument to determine the position of an observer relative to that of a given heavenly body
  2. the data so taken
Derived Forms
observational, adjective
observationally, adverb
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
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Word Origin and History for self-observation



late 14c., "performance of a religious rite," from Latin observationem (nominative observatio) "a watching over, observance, investigation," noun of action from past participle stem of observare (see observe). Sense of "act or fact of paying attention" is from 1550s. Meaning "a remark in reference to something observed" first recorded 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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