[ uh b-zur-ver ]
/ əbˈzɜr vər /


someone or something that observes.
a delegate to an assembly or gathering, who is sent to observe and report but not to take part officially in its activities.
U.S. Air Force.
  1. a member of an aircrew, other than the pilot, holding an aeronautical rating.
  2. a person who maintains observation in an aircraft during flight.
Also called air observer, aircraft observer. U.S. Army. a person who serves in an aircraft as a reconnoiterer and directs artillery fire.

Nearby words

  1. observational,
  2. observative,
  3. observatory,
  4. observe,
  5. observedly,
  6. obsess,
  7. obsessed,
  8. obsession,
  9. obsessional,
  10. obsessive

Origin of observer

First recorded in 1545–55; observe + -er1

Related formsob·serv·er·ship, nounin·ter·ob·serv·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for observer

British Dictionary definitions for observer


/ (əbˈzɜːvə) /


a person or thing that observes
a person who attends a conference solely to note the proceedings
a person trained to identify aircraft, esp, formerly, a member of an aircrew
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 observer



1550s, "one who keeps a rule, custom, etc.," agent noun from observe. Meaning "one who watches and takes notice" is from 1580s; this is the sense of the word in many newspaper names.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper