Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[uh b-zurv] /əbˈzɜrv/
verb (used with object), observed, observing.
to see, watch, perceive, or notice:
He observed the passersby in the street.
to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something:
I want you to observe her reaction to the judge's question.
to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose:
to observe an eclipse.
to state by way of comment; remark:
He observed frequently that clerks were not as courteous as they used to be.
to keep or maintain in one's action, conduct, etc.:
You must observe quiet.
to obey, comply with, or conform to:
to observe laws.
to show regard for by some appropriate procedure, ceremony, etc.:
to observe Palm Sunday.
to perform duly or solemnize (ceremonies, rites, etc.).
to note or inspect closely for an omen or sign of future events.
verb (used without object), observed, observing.
to notice.
to act as an observer.
to remark or comment (usually followed by on or upon).
Origin of observe
1350-1400; Middle English observen < Middle French observer < Latin observāre to watch, regard, attend to, equivalent to ob- ob- + servāre to keep, save, pay heed to
Related forms
[uh b-zur-vid-lee] /əbˈzɜr vɪd li/ (Show IPA),
observingly, adverb
nonobserving, adjective
nonobservingly, adverb
preobserve, verb (used with object), preobserved, preobserving.
quasi-observed, adjective
reobserve, verb, reobserved, reobserving.
self-observed, adjective
unobserved, adjective
unobserving, adjective
well-observed, adjective
2. note. Observe, witness imply paying strict attention to what one sees or perceives. Both are “continuative” in action. To observe is to mark or be attentive to something seen, heard, etc.; to consider carefully; to watch steadily: to observe the behavior of birds, a person's pronunciation. To witness, formerly to be present when something was happening, has added the idea of having observed with sufficient care to be able to give an account as evidence: to witness an accident. 4. mention, say. 6. follow, fulfill. 7. celebrate, keep.
1–3, 6–8. ignore. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unobserved
Historical Examples
  • I made sure of meeting Natalie there, and perhaps even of finding an opportunity of speaking to her unobserved by her father.

  • He stood in the square and waited for a chance to slip in unobserved.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Mrs. Dillon started and turned pale as the door softly opened, and Annorah herself, unobserved by the priest, came in.

    Live to be Useful Anonymous
  • Then he looked round at the half-filled canteen to see that he was unobserved.

    The Rough Road William John Locke
  • His countenance during that brief glance was unobserved, but you might have read there something sinister and cruel.

    Guy Deverell, v. 2 of 2 Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • Come into the stateroom, where we can be unobserved, and show them to me.

    The Young Adventurer Horatio Alger
  • In this laborious task Saumarez was the patient, unobserved pioneer.

  • Unfortunately their return was not, like their arrival, unobserved.

    Louise de la Valliere Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • We were solicitous to pass them unobserved and pushed on towards a stopping place, which we might reach at twelve o'clock.

  • It was absolutely necessary that their passage be unknown and unobserved.

    The Free Range Francis William Sullivan
British Dictionary definitions for unobserved


not seen or perceived


(transitive; may take a clause as object) to see; perceive; notice: we have observed that you steal
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to watch (something) carefully; pay attention to (something)
to make observations of (something), esp scientific ones
when intr, usually foll by on or upon; when tr, may take a clause as object. to make a comment or remark: the speaker observed that times had changed
(transitive) to abide by, keep, or follow (a custom, tradition, law, holiday, etc)
Derived Forms
observable, adjective
observableness, observability, noun
observably, adverb
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin observāre, from ob- to + servāre to watch
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unobserved

1610s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of observe.



late 14c., "to hold to" (a manner of life or course of conduct), from Old French observer, osserver "to observe, watch over, follow" (10c.), from Latin observare "watch over, note, heed, look to, attend to, guard, regard, comply with," from ob "over" (see ob-) + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE root *ser- "to protect." Meaning "to attend to in practice, to keep, follow" is attested from late 14c. Sense of "watch, perceive, notice" is 1560s, via notion of "see and note omens." Meaning "to say by way of remark" is from c.1600. Related: Observed; observing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for observe

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for unobserved

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for unobserved