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observe

[uh b-zurv] /əbˈzɜrv/
verb (used with object), observed, observing.
1.
to see, watch, perceive, or notice:
He observed the passersby in the street.
2.
to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something:
I want you to observe her reaction to the judge's question.
3.
to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose:
to observe an eclipse.
4.
to state by way of comment; remark:
He observed frequently that clerks were not as courteous as they used to be.
5.
to keep or maintain in one's action, conduct, etc.:
You must observe quiet.
6.
to obey, comply with, or conform to:
to observe laws.
7.
to show regard for by some appropriate procedure, ceremony, etc.:
to observe Palm Sunday.
8.
to perform duly or solemnize (ceremonies, rites, etc.).
9.
to note or inspect closely for an omen or sign of future events.
verb (used without object), observed, observing.
10.
to notice.
11.
to act as an observer.
12.
to remark or comment (usually followed by on or upon).
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English observen < Middle French observer < Latin observāre to watch, regard, attend to, equivalent to ob- ob- + servāre to keep, save, pay heed to
Related forms
observedly
[uh b-zur-vid-lee] /əbˈzɜr vɪd li/ (Show IPA),
adverb
observingly, adverb
nonobserving, adjective
nonobservingly, adverb
preobserve, verb (used with object), preobserved, preobserving.
quasi-observed, adjective
reobserve, verb, reobserved, reobserving.
self-observed, adjective
unobserved, adjective
unobserving, adjective
well-observed, adjective
Synonyms
2. note. Observe, witness imply paying strict attention to what one sees or perceives. Both are “continuative” in action. To observe is to mark or be attentive to something seen, heard, etc.; to consider carefully; to watch steadily: to observe the behavior of birds, a person's pronunciation. To witness, formerly to be present when something was happening, has added the idea of having observed with sufficient care to be able to give an account as evidence: to witness an accident. 4. mention, say. 6. follow, fulfill. 7. celebrate, keep.
Antonyms
1–3, 6–8. ignore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for observe
  • Our need to observe combatants' human rights must be balanced with our existential need to withstand these tyrannical movements.
  • Many companies observe a double standard, it notes, paying bribes more freely abroad than at home.
  • Remind students to use all of their senses to observe their habitat.
  • New microscopy techniques observe life's molecules in action.
  • People were to observe a mandatory curfew and travel restrictions.
  • Under dark field what you observe is the refracted light from the sample which will really light up your images.
  • It's a feast for the audience, but observe how the attendees react.
  • Most economists observe the world's economies from afar, and try to formulate theories to explain them.
  • Try to observe the same quantum particle a second time, and chances are you'll find your first measurement has knocked it about.
  • She spent her days following the giraffes to observe their behavior.
British Dictionary definitions for observe

observe

/əbˈzɜːv/
verb
1.
(transitive; may take a clause as object) to see; perceive; notice: we have observed that you steal
2.
(when transitive, may take a clause as object) to watch (something) carefully; pay attention to (something)
3.
to make observations of (something), esp scientific ones
4.
when intr, usually foll by on or upon; when tr, may take a clause as object. to make a comment or remark: the speaker observed that times had changed
5.
(transitive) to abide by, keep, or follow (a custom, tradition, law, holiday, etc)
Derived Forms
observable, adjective
observableness, observability, noun
observably, adverb
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin observāre, from ob- to + servāre to watch
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 observe
v.

late 14c., "to hold to" (a manner of life or course of conduct), from Old French observer, osserver "to observe, watch over, follow" (10c.), from Latin observare "watch over, note, heed, look to, attend to, guard, regard, comply with," from ob "over" (see ob-) + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE root *ser- "to protect." Meaning "to attend to in practice, to keep, follow" is attested from late 14c. Sense of "watch, perceive, notice" is 1560s, via notion of "see and note omens." Meaning "to say by way of remark" is from c.1600. Related: Observed; observing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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