- 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.
transitive verbobserved, observing
- 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 of observeMiddle English observen ; from Old French observer ; from Classical Latin observare, to watch, note ; from ob- (see ob-) + 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
verbob·served, ob·serv·ing, ob·serves
- a. To be or become aware of, especially through careful and directed attention; notice: observed a car leaving the property.b. To watch attentively: observe a child's behavior.c. To make a systematic or scientific observation of: observe the orbit of a comet.
- To say casually; remark: “‘It's nice to have somebody to wait on you,’ she observed, with a laugh” (Upton Sinclair).
- a. To adhere to or abide by; comply with: observe the terms of a contract.b. To act in acknowledgment of (a holiday, for example); keep or celebrate: observe an anniversary.c. To maintain (silence or a period of silence), as out of respect for someone who has died.
- To take notice: stood by the window observing.
- To say something; make a comment or remark: observed upon the unusual weather.
- To watch or be present without participating actively: We were invited to the conference solely to observe.
Origin of observeMiddle 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.
(third-person singular simple present observes, present participle observing, simple past and past participle observed)
- To notice or view, especially carefully or with attention to detail.
- From this vantage point we can observe the behavior of the animals in their natural habitat.
- To follow or obey the custom, practice, or rules (especially of a religion).
- Please observe all posted speed limits.
- (intransitive) To comment on something; to make an observation.
- The senator observed that the bill would be detrimental to his constituents.
From French observer, from Latin observare (â€œto watch, note, mark, heed, guard, keep, pay attention to, regard, comply with, etc.â€), from ob (â€œbeforeâ€) + servare (â€œto keepâ€), from Proto-Indo-European *serw- (â€œto guardâ€). Cognate with Gothic [script?] (sarwa, â€œweapons, armourâ€), Old English searu (â€œdevice, design, contrivance, art, cunning, craft, artifice, wile, deceit, stratagem, ambush, treachery, plot, trick, snare, ambuscade, cleverness, machine, engine, fabric, armor, equipment, armsâ€).