Definition of


  1. (verb, perception) discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
    We found traces of lead in the paint
  2. (verb, communication) make mention of
    They noted that it was a fine day to go sailing
  3. (verb, perception) observe with care or pay close attention to
  4. (verb, perception) watch attentively
  5. (verb, social) show respect towards
  6. (verb, social) behave as expected during of holidays or rites
    celebrate Christmas
    Observe Yom Kippur
  7. (verb, social) follow with the eyes or the mind
    The world is watching Sarajevo
    She followed the men with the binoculars
  8. (verb, cognition) stick to correctly or closely
    keep count
    I cannot keep track of all my employees
  9. (verb, social) conform one's action or practice to
    she never keeps her promises
    We kept to the original conditions of the contract

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Observe

  1. late 14c., "to hold to" (a manner of life or course of conduct), from O.Fr. observer, from L. observare "watch over, look to, attend to, guard," from ob "over" + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE base *ser- "to protect." Meaning "to attend to in practice, to keep, follow" is attested from late 14c. Sense of "watch, perceive, notice" is c… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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not open to question; obviously true