- Observe is defined as to celebrate, to see or watch.
- An example of to observe is to celebrate a specific holiday.
- An example of to observe is to see a bird fly across the sky.
- An example to observe is to watch a butterfly grow, take notes and write up a report on it.
Children observing Halloween.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to adhere to, follow, keep, or abide by (a law, custom, duty, rule, etc.)
- to celebrate or keep (a holiday, etc.) according to custom
- to notice or perceive (something)
- to pay special attention to
- to arrive at as a conclusion after study
- to say or mention casually; remark
- to examine and study scientifically
Origin: Middle English observen from Old French observer from Classical Latin observare, to watch, note from ob- (see ob-) plush servare, to keep or hold from Indo-European base an unverified form ser-, to watch over, guard from source Sanskrit haraiti, (he) guards
- to take notice
- to comment or remark (on or upon)
- to act as an observer
- observingly adverb
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb ob·served, ob·serv·ing, ob·serves verb, transitive
- To be or become aware of, especially through careful and directed attention; notice.
- To watch attentively: observe a child's behavior.
- To make a systematic or scientific observation of: observe the orbit of the moon.
- To say casually; remark.
- To adhere to or abide by: observe the terms of a contract.
- To keep or celebrate (a holiday, for example): observe an anniversary.
- To take notice.
- To say something; make a comment or remark.
- To watch or be present without participating actively: We were invited to the conference solely to observe.
Origin: Middle English observen, to conform to, from Old French observer, from Latin observāre, to abide by, watch : ob-, over; see ob- + servāre, to keep, watch; see ser-1 in Indo-European roots.
- ob·servˈing·ly adverb