For all your dictionary needs!
Spelling. Are you looking for Conserve, Deserve, Observed, Observer, Reserve, or subserve?
Header of observe


Video footage: A man uses his smartphone to observe ride sharing traffic patterns on an interactive map in a city.
Play/pauseBuy footageFind more

Definition of the verb observe

What does observe mean as a doing word?

Observe is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: observed | observing | observes

  1. discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
  2. make mention of
    • example: She observed that his presentation took up too much time
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic]Ellen said a few words
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic] to [Recipient]Ellen said a few words to Helen
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, how-extraction]He confessed how she did it | I asked how she did it | I explained how it can be done | John suggested how she could do it
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, quotation]He says, 'It has to go.'
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, that-complement clause]He ordered that he go
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, that-complement clause, not tensed]John suggested that he should go
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, wh-infinitive clause]I asked how to do it | I explained how to do it | John suggested how to do it
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, what-extraction]He asked what he should do | I explained what he should do | John suggested what we should eat
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Topic, what-infinitive clause]He asked what to do | I explained what to do | John suggested what to do
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] to [Recipient] [Topic, quotation]Mr. Jacobson announced to the trading mob: 'We're going to trade on the bell.'

      Verbs of Communication (with the same syntax): advise, announce, articulate, blab, blurt, claim, confess, confide, convey, declare, mention, note, proclaim, propose, recount, reiterate, relate, remark, repeat, report, reveal, say, state.

    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of observe: mention / note / remark
    • more generic words: say / state / tell = express in words
    • more specific terms: point out / comment / notice / remark = make or write a comment on
  3. observe with care or pay close attention to
  4. watch attentively
    • examples: Please observe the reaction of these two chemicals | The customs agents observe the bags for drugs
    • lexical domain: Perceptions - verbs of seeing, hearing, feeling
    • more generic word: watch = look attentively
    • more specific words:
  5. show respect towards
  6. behave as expected during of holidays or rites
    • example: Observe Yom Kippur
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • synonyms of observe: celebrate / keep
    • more specific words:
      • commemorate / mark = celebrate by some ceremony or observation
      • mourn = observe the customs of mourning after the death of a loved one
      • solemnise / solemnize = observe or perform with dignity or gravity
  7. follow with the eyes or the mind
  8. stick to correctly or closely
    • syntax: the same syntax as for the sense 3
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of observe: keep / maintain
  9. conform one's action or practice to
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • synonym of observe: keep
    • more specific term: make good = act as promised

Alternative definition of the verb observe


  1. [transitive] To notice or view, especially carefully or with attention to detail.
  2. [transitive] To follow the custom, practice, or rules (especially of a religion.)
  3. [intransitive] To comment on something; to make an observation.


  1. "Observe" is a musical album of Verbose.
    • released on (11 years ago)
  2. "Observe" is a musical album of Chasing Elvis.
    • released in (11 years ago)

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Observe

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewPhilip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing (1999)

by Philip Greenspun

The first thing to observe is that this is a much more ...

Google previewDemand and Supply Integration (2013)

The Key to World-Class Demand Forecasting by Mark A. Moon

One obvious insight they will observe is that in certain periods of the year, demand for Hershey chocolate products spikes.

Another pattern they might observe is a spike in demand in response to product promotions, or a dip in demand in ...

Google previewTools and Algorithms for the Construction and Analysis of Systems (2011)

17th International Conference, TACAS 2011, Held as Part of the Joint European Conference on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2011, Saarbrücken, Germany, March 26--April 3, 2011, Proceedings by Parosh Aziz Abdulla, K. Rustan M. Leino

The first thing to observe is that only assignments and method invocations can introduce cycles; and among assignments, only store instructions vt.f = vs do. Notice, furthermore that if v t or vs is of a non-acyclic type, then no invalid cycle can be ...

Google previewMathematics: A Practical Odyssey (2011)

by David Johnson, Thomas Mowry

The second pattern to observe is that the length of each side is decreasing by a factor of 1>3.

Google previewThe Origin of Continents and Oceans (2012)

by Alfred Wegener

the first thing we observe is that India at its fullest extent (before the Himalaya was folded) reached ...

Google previewThe Giant Encyclopedia of Science Activities for Children 3 to 6 (1998)

More Than 600 Science Activities Written by Teachers for Teachers by Kathy Charner

Observe, describe, eat and enjoy! More to do More science: Apples, pineapples and pears are easy to dry. Show your class prunes/plums, raisins/grapes, dried apricots and fresh ones. Discuss what has taken place with the dried fruit.

Google previewThe Encyclopedia of your Observations (2015)

by Jerry Welch

Observant, Observation, Observe: Careful observation requires awareness and the ability to recognize what you are observing for what it is. Observations can be made with all five senses, through seeing, smelling, feeling, tasting and hearing.

Google previewLexicon to the English Poetical Works of John Milton (1907)

by Laura Emma Lockwood

Observe , vb. tr.

Google previewThe Encyclopedia of Elder Care (2013)

The Comprehensive Resource on Geriatric Health and Social Care, Third Edition by Elizabeth A. Capezuti, PhD, RN, FAAN, Michael L. Malone, MD, Paul R. Katz, MD, Mathy Mezey, DSc, EdD, MED, BSN

TOTAL SCORE ______ CATEGORY MEASUREMENT 0 1 2 LYMPH NODES Observe and feel nodes No enlargement Enlarged, not tender Enlarged and tender* LIPS Observe, feel tissue and ask resident, family or staff (e.g., primary ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of GIS (2007)

by Shashi Shekhar, Hui Xiong

are a specialized application of sensor network technology to monitor, observe and track environmental phenomena and processes [11]. Geosensor networks are deployed in geographic space to monitor ...

Google previewJunior School Dictionary (2002)

by Linsay Knight, Andrew Delahunty

observe ...

Google previewMongolian English Dictionary (2013)

by Bawden,

to follow strictly, to observe strictly,~ хатуусахилга strict discipline, ~хяналт strict supervision ЧАНДII .

Google previewEtymologicon universale, or universal etymological dictionary on a new plan (1811)

by Walter Whiter

at the end of a word or syllable ; as thuMP, thuMB, buMPer, &c, though we do not familiarly observe the same union at the beginning of a word; but we generally ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Observe

Click on a label to prioritize search results according to that topic:

Usage statistics about observe

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb observe:


Photos about Observe

Click on an item to view that photo:


If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of coin-operated binoculars or telescope for tourists to observe plane takeoffs and ladings in airport observation deckSmall photo of coin-operated binoculars or telescope in the morning golden glowing light for tourists to observe plane takeoffs and ladings in airport observation deck with copy spaceSmall photo of TOKYO - OCTOBER 14, 2017 - 22.08: Haneda, Tokyo International Airport observation deck. Has coin-operated binoculars for tourist to observe the plane.Small photo of Telescope observe the sky.Small photo of Airport officer in thick safety jacket riding bicycle to observe runwaySmall photo of Woman looking through telescope to observe the birdSmall photo of VALENCIA, SPAIN- MARCH 15, 2015: Crowd observe El Pilar Falla in Valencia at dusk, the Fallas is a typical celebration where monuments are built for being burnt in Valencia, Spain More...

Video language resources about Observe

Click on an item to play that video:

See also the pronunciation examples of Observe!

Quotes about Observe

When in doubt, observe and ask questions. When certain, observe at length and ask many more questions. (George S. Patton)
more quotes about observe...

Scrabble value of O1B3S1E1R1V4E1

The value of this 7-letter word is 12 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of OBSERVE

What do you get if you rearrange the letters?

See also the blanagrams of Observe!

Share this page


Go to the usage examples of Observe to see it in context!

Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy
Keyword Tool | Romanian-English Dictionary