9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh b-zur-vuh ns] /əbˈzɜr vəns/
an act or instance of following, obeying, or conforming to:
the observance of traffic laws.
a keeping or celebration by appropriate procedure, ceremonies, etc.:
the observance of the Sabbath.
a procedure, ceremony, or rite, as for a particular occasion:
patriotic observances.
a rule or custom to be followed or obeyed; a customary practice.
Roman Catholic Church.
  1. a rule or discipline for a religious house or order.
  2. a house or order observing a rule or discipline.
an act or instance of watching, noting, or perceiving; observation.
respectful attention or service.
Archaic. courteous attention as to a person; dutiful service.
Origin of observance
1175-1225; Middle English observaunce < Old French < Late Latin observantia, Latin: esteem, attention, derivative of observant- (stem of observāns), present participle of observāre. See observe, -ance
Related forms
preobservance, noun
Can be confused
observance, observation.
1. compliance, adherence, heedfulness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for observance
  • observance of such is a specific condition of employment and admission.
  • They do have convocation once a year and pray at graduation, but that is about the extent of required religious observance.
  • She proposed looking at the relationship between optimism and religious observance.
  • Success is in large part dependent on the comprehension and observance of entrenched protocols.
  • So they are granted certain privileges, hallowed by long observance but ill-defined.
  • Local commentators, however, detect a groundswell of religious observance.
  • With the rise in religious observance society has become less tolerant.
  • Within the evidence adduced, close observance of details may optimize the edition in five or six cases.
  • Here's more bad news for those who think bad times prompt people toward religious observance.
  • He established many monasteries, and took particular care to enforce a strict observance of monastic discipline among them.
British Dictionary definitions for observance


recognition of or compliance with a law, custom, practice, etc
the act of such recognition
a ritual, ceremony, or practice, esp of a religion
observation or attention
the degree of strictness of a religious order or community in following its rule
(archaic) respectful or deferential attention
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for observance

early 13c., "act performed in accordance with prescribed usage," especially a religious or ceremonial one, from Old French observance, osservance "observance, discipline," or directly from Latin observantia "act of keeping customs, attention, respect, regard, reverence," from observantem (nominative observans), present participle of observare (see observe). Observance is the attending to and carrying out of a duty or rule. Observation is watching, noticing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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