- 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 (“to watch, note, mark, heed, guard, keep, pay attention to, regard, comply with, etc.”), from ob (“before”) + servare (“to keep”), from Proto-Indo-European *serw- (“to guard”). Cognate with Gothic [script?] (sarwa, “weapons, armour”), Old English searu (“device, design, contrivance, art, cunning, craft, artifice, wile, deceit, stratagem, ambush, treachery, plot, trick, snare, ambuscade, cleverness, machine, engine, fabric, armor, equipment, arms”).