[ ob-zur-vey-shuhn ]
/ ˌɒb zɜrˈveɪ ʃən /


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

Synonym study

8. See remark.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for observation

British Dictionary definitions for observation


/ (ˌɒbzəˈveɪʃən) /


the act of observing or the state of being observed
a comment or remark
detailed examination of phenomena prior to analysis, diagnosis, or interpretationthe 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 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