See more synonyms for observe 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.
  3. to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose: to observe an eclipse.
  4. to state by way of comment; remark: He observed frequently that clerks were not as courteous as they used to be.
  5. to keep or maintain in one's action, conduct, etc.: You must observe quiet.
  6. to obey, comply with, or conform to: to observe laws.
  7. to show regard for by some appropriate procedure, ceremony, etc.: to observe Palm Sunday.
  8. to perform duly or solemnize (ceremonies, rites, etc.).
  9. 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.
  3. to remark or comment (usually followed by on or upon).

Origin of observe

1350–1400; Middle English observen < Middle French observer < Latin observāre to watch, regard, attend to, equivalent to ob- ob- + servāre to keep, save, pay heed to
Related formsob·serv·ed·ly [uhb-zur-vid-lee] /əbˈzɜr vɪd li/, adverbob·serv·ing·ly, adverbnon·ob·serv·ing, adjectivenon·ob·serv·ing·ly, adverbpre·ob·serve, verb (used with object), pre·ob·served, pre·ob·serv·ing.qua·si-ob·served, adjectivere·ob·serve, verb, re·ob·served, re·ob·serv·ing.self-ob·served, adjectiveun·ob·served, adjectiveun·ob·serv·ing, adjectivewell-ob·served, adjective

Synonyms for observe

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
2. note. 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. 4. mention, say. 6. follow, fulfill. 7. celebrate, keep.

Antonyms for observe

1–3, 6–8. ignore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unobserved

Historical Examples of unobserved

  • They stood, unobserved, at a little distance, and heard the service.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • He wanted to feel himself alone in wakefulness and unobserved.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • Outside the window was a little Hindu boy, unobserved by any in the house.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • Philip's eyes were streaming, and, unobserved, he put the lesson-book to his lips.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • So absorbed were they that Pete passed some of them unobserved.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for unobserved


  1. not seen or perceived


  1. (tr; may take a clause as object) to see; perceive; noticewe have observed that you steal
  2. (when tr, may take a clause as object) to watch (something) carefully; pay attention to (something)
  3. to make observations of (something), esp scientific ones
  4. (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
  5. (tr) to abide by, keep, or follow (a custom, tradition, law, holiday, etc)
Derived Formsobservable, adjectiveobservableness or observability, nounobservably, adverb

Word Origin for observe

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

1610s, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of observe.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper