See more synonyms for observation on Thesaurus.com
  1. an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.
  2. an act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.
  3. the faculty or habit of observing or noticing.
  4. notice: to escape a person's observation.
  5. 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.
  6. the information or record secured by such an act.
  7. something that is learned in the course of observing things: My observation is that such clouds mean a storm.
  8. a remark, comment, or statement based on what one has noticed or observed.
  9. the condition of being observed.
  10. Navigation.
    1. the measurement of the altitude or azimuth of a heavenly body for navigational purposes.
    2. the information obtained by such a measurement.
  11. 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 formsnon·ob·ser·va·tion, nounpre·ob·ser·va·tion, nounre·ob·ser·va·tion, nounself-ob·ser·va·tion, noun
Can be confusedobservance observation

Synonyms for observation

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Synonym study

8. See remark.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for observation


  1. the act of observing or the state of being observed
  2. a comment or remark
  3. detailed examination of phenomena prior to analysis, diagnosis, or interpretationthe patient was under observation
  4. the facts learned from observing
  5. an obsolete word for observance
  6. nautical
    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 Formsobservational, adjectiveobservationally, 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

Word Origin and History for 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