[ oh-bey ]
See synonyms for: obeyobeyedobeyingobeys on Thesaurus.com

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.).

  1. (of things) to respond conformably in action to: The car obeyed the slightest touch of the steering wheel.

  2. to submit or conform in action to (some guiding principle, impulse, one's conscience, etc.).

verb (used without object)
  1. to be obedient: to agree to obey.

Origin of obey

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English obeien, from Old French obeir, from Latin oboedīre, equivalent to ob- ob- + audīre “to hear”; -oe- for expected -ū- is unclear

Other words from obey

  • o·bey·a·ble, adjective
  • o·bey·er, noun
  • o·bey·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·o·beyed, adjective
  • un·o·bey·ing, adjective
  • well-o·beyed, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use obey in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for obey


/ (əˈbeɪ) /

  1. to carry out (instructions or orders); comply with (demands)

  2. to behave or act in accordance with (one's feelings, whims, etc)

Origin of obey

C13: from Old French obéir, from Latin oboedīre, from ob- to, towards + audīre to hear

Derived forms of obey

  • obeyer, noun

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