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[uh b-zur-ver] /əbˈzɜr vər/
someone or something that observes.
a delegate to an assembly or gathering, who is sent to observe and report but not to take part officially in its activities.
U.S. Air Force.
  1. a member of an aircrew, other than the pilot, holding an aeronautical rating.
  2. a person who maintains observation in an aircraft during flight.
Also called air observer, aircraft observer. U.S. Army. a person who serves in an aircraft as a reconnoiterer and directs artillery fire.
Origin of observer
1545-55; observe + -er1
Related forms
observership, noun
interobserver, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for observer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These are questions which the observer should put to himself.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse United States Department of Agriculture
  • This afternoon, an observer would have thought the affair was proceeding to this point.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • This indicated to the firing battery that the observer had not seen the last shot.

    Bill Bruce on Forest Patrol Henry Harley Arnold
  • We know that an observer of nature always has to know his own personal equation.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Their marchings and countermarchings are said to remind the observer of the manœuvres of soldiers on parade.

British Dictionary definitions for observer


a person or thing that observes
a person who attends a conference solely to note the proceedings
a person trained to identify aircraft, esp, formerly, a member of an aircrew
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 observer

1550s, "one who keeps a rule, custom, etc.," agent noun from observe. Meaning "one who watches and takes notice" is from 1580s; this is the sense of the word in many newspaper names.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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