- to see, watch, perceive, or notice: He observed the passersby in the street.
- to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something: I want you to observe her reaction to the judge's question.
- to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose: to observe an eclipse.
- to state by way of comment; remark: He observed frequently that clerks were not as courteous as they used to be.
- to keep or maintain in one's action, conduct, etc.: You must observe quiet.
- to obey, comply with, or conform to: to observe laws.
- to show regard for by some appropriate procedure, ceremony, etc.: to observe Palm Sunday.
- to perform duly or solemnize (ceremonies, rites, etc.).
- to note or inspect closely for an omen or sign of future events.
- to notice.
- to act as an observer.
- to remark or comment (usually followed by on or upon).
Origin of observe
SynonymsSee more synonyms for observe on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for observing
Zamir had to make do with observing events from afar, and what he saw was totally unsatisfactory.Mossad’s Greatest Female Assassin: An Excerpt From ‘Sylvia Rafael’
Ram Oren, Moti Kfir
September 20, 2014
No matter that Williams was a guest artist that week, Winkler knew he was observing “greatness.”How Mork Melted the Fonz: Henry Winkler Recalls Robin Williams’s Storming ‘Happy Days’ Debut
August 12, 2014
Observing a sex difference in a patient population is important, but finding a cellular parallel is truly remarkable.Why Men May Be More Likely to Get Deadly Brain Cancer
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad
August 5, 2014
Rand Paul had the benefit of observing both what made his father likable and popular, and what made him an also-ran.Rand Paul’s Daddy Issues
July 28, 2014
Did you learn any lessons by observing what he went through?Dave Franco Uncut: The Actor on ’22 Jump Street,’ ‘The Room,’ and His Bro’s Nude Instagrams
June 13, 2014
"I was not observing the landscape," the other explains, carefully.Quaint Courtships
Observing this, Medea looked round at the nephews, and smiled again.Tanglewood Tales
"You seem to think little of it," I said, observing that he took it very coolly.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
I was very much interested in observing the society in which I found myself.My Double Life
It was the turn of the mender of roads to say it this time, after observing these operations.A Tale of Two Cities
- (tr; may take a clause as object) to see; perceive; noticewe have observed that you steal
- (when tr, may take a clause as object) to watch (something) carefully; pay attention to (something)
- to make observations of (something), esp scientific ones
- (when intr, usually foll by on or upon; when tr, may take a clause as object) to make a comment or remarkthe speaker observed that times had changed
- (tr) to abide by, keep, or follow (a custom, tradition, law, holiday, etc)
Word Origin and History for observing
late 14c., "to hold to" (a manner of life or course of conduct), from Old French observer, osserver "to observe, watch over, follow" (10c.), from Latin observare "watch over, note, heed, look to, attend to, guard, regard, comply with," from ob "over" (see ob-) + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE root *ser- "to protect." Meaning "to attend to in practice, to keep, follow" is attested from late 14c. Sense of "watch, perceive, notice" is 1560s, via notion of "see and note omens." Meaning "to say by way of remark" is from c.1600. Related: Observed; observing.