From Middle French observer, from Old French [Term?], 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 𐍃𐌰𐍂𐍅𐌰 (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”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əbˈzɜːv/, (rare) /ɒbˈzɜːv/
- (General American, Canada) enPR: əb-zûrvʹ, IPA(key): /əbˈzɝv/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)v
- Hyphenation: ob‧serve
- (transitive) 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.
- She got up before dawn to observe the lunar eclipse.
- 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
- “One horse?” interjected Holmes. ¶ “Yes, only one.” ¶ “Did you observe the colour?”
- 2013 March 1, Frank Fish, George Lauder, “Not Just Going with the Flow”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 2, page 114:
- An extreme version of vorticity is a vortex. The vortex is a spinning, cyclonic mass of fluid, which can be observed in the rotation of water going down a drain, as well as in smoke rings, tornados and hurricanes.
- (transitive) To follow or obey the custom, practice, or rules (especially of a religion).
- Please observe all posted speed limits.
- 2011 November 10, Jeremy Wilson, “England Under 21 5 Iceland Under 21 0: match report”, in Telegraph:
- A sell-out crowd of 10,000 then observed perfectly a period of silence before the team revealed their black armbands, complete with stitched-in poppies, for the match. After Fifa’s about-turn, it must have been a frantic few days for the England kit manufacturer. The on-field challenge was altogether more straightforward.
- (transitive) To take note of and celebrate (a holiday or similar occurrence); to follow (a type of time or calendar reckoning).
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981, Exodus 12:17:
- Ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread.
- 2020 (March 7), Jackie Dunham, "Daylight time: How to get enough sleep when the clocks spring forward, CTV News:
- On Sunday, most of Canada will observe daylight time and spring forward an hour in order to reflect the increasing sunlight.
- (intransitive) To comment on something; to make an observation.
- The senator observed that the bill would be detrimental to his constituents.
- 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, chapter VIII, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
- Elbows almost touching they leaned at ease, idly reading the almost obliterated lines engraved there. ¶ "I never understood it," she observed, lightly scornful. "What occult meaning has a sun-dial for the spooney? I'm sure I don't want to read riddles in a strange gentleman's optics."
- (follow a custom): celebrate
- “observe” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- “observe” in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
observe (plural observes)
- (archaic) An observation (remark, comment or judgement).
- 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped
- “It sticks in my mind that he would take it very ill,” says Alan. “But the little man cried to me to run, and indeed I thought it was a good observe, and ran. The last that I saw they were all in a knot upon the beach, like folk that were not agreeing very well together.”
- 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped
- inflection of :
- first-person singular present subjunctive of
- third-person singular present subjunctive of
- first-person singular imperative of
- third-person singular imperative of
- Formal second-person singular (usted) imperative form of observar.
- First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of observar.
- Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of observar.
- Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of observar.