[ uhb-zurv ]
See synonyms for: observeobservedobserving on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),ob·served, ob·serv·ing.
  1. to see, watch, perceive, or notice: He observed the passersby in the street.

  2. to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something: I want you to observe her reaction to the judge's question.

  1. to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose: to observe an eclipse.

  2. to state by way of comment; remark: He observed frequently that clerks were not as courteous as they used to be.

  3. to keep or maintain in one's action, conduct, etc.:You must observe quiet.

  4. to obey, comply with, or conform to: to observe laws.

  5. to show regard for by some appropriate procedure, ceremony, etc.: to observe Palm Sunday.

  6. to perform duly or solemnize (ceremonies, rites, etc.).

  7. to note or inspect closely for an omen or sign of future events.

verb (used without object),ob·served, ob·serv·ing.
  1. to notice.

  2. to act as an observer.

  1. to remark or comment (usually followed by on or upon).

Origin of observe

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English observen, from Middle French observer, from Latin observāre “to watch, regard, attend to,” equivalent to ob-ob- + servāre “to keep, save, pay heed to”

synonym study For observe

2. 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.

Other words for observe

Opposites for observe

Other words from observe

  • ob·serv·ed·ly [uhb-zur-vid-lee], /əbˈzɜr vɪd li/, adverb
  • ob·serv·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·ob·serv·ing, adjective
  • non·ob·serv·ing·ly, adverb
  • pre·ob·serve, verb (used with object), pre·ob·served, pre·ob·serv·ing.
  • qua·si-ob·served, adjective
  • re·ob·serve, verb, re·ob·served, re·ob·serv·ing.
  • self-ob·served, adjective
  • un·ob·served, adjective
  • un·ob·serv·ing, adjective
  • well-ob·served, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use observe in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for observe


/ (əbˈzɜːv) /

  1. (tr; may take a clause as object) to see; perceive; notice: we have observed that you steal

  2. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to watch (something) carefully; pay attention to (something)

  1. to make observations of (something), esp scientific ones

  2. (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

  3. (tr) to abide by, keep, or follow (a custom, tradition, law, holiday, etc)

Origin of observe

C14: via Old French from Latin observāre, from ob- to + servāre to watch

Derived forms of observe

  • observable, adjective
  • observableness or observability, noun
  • observably, 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