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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
comply with/abide by/observe a ruleformal (= obey it)
▪ All members must comply with the rules of the organization.
▪ There is little that one country can do if another fails to abide by the rules.
▪ We expect you to observe the general rules of conduct as set out below.
comply with/observe a condition (=act according to a condition)
▪ You must agree to comply with the bank’s conditions before you can get a loan.
follow/observe a custom (=do something that is part of a custom)
▪ Following a Chinese custom, Deng changed his given name to mark the occasion.
observe a correlation
▪ A correlation has been observed between untidiness and creativity.
observe a taboo (=not do something that is considered offensive or unacceptable)
▪ The Kalenjin people of Kenya still observe a taboo against eating fish.
see/notice/observe a change
▪ I saw a big change in her when I met her again.
▪ He observed how institutional forms of control by society had virtually disappeared.
▪ Step 3 Observe how frequently your child loses his/her temper.
▪ Once this is done, the writer should observe how realistically each study phase can be completed.
▪ In the Science books, children are encouraged to look around and observe how things work.
▪ The captain would throw a log overboard and observe how quickly the ship receded from this temporary guidepost.
▪ After getting several responses, bounce the ball on the floor and observe how high it bounces.
▪ Notice that for him to be able to say this he does not have to have observed his own behaviour.
▪ The most accurate way to assess an individual's temperament is by observing his expressions and behaviour.
▪ The solution here is to perform very short hops and observe the behaviour of the model.
▪ The inclinations to treat animals kindly are grounded in the analogies to be observed in human behaviour.
▪ The more time you spend with horses observing their behaviour, the more effectively you will be able to judge their moods.
▪ One can, looking down the microscope, observe the behaviour of individual cells as the embryo develops.
▪ It is a simple matter of studying people's minds, observing their behaviour and analysing their attitudes.
▪ To observe searching behaviour solely at the catalogue may provide a distorted picture of the task in hand.
▪ It was galling to her to observe his change in demeanour.
▪ She observed the changes in his face with alarm.
▪ In Figure 5.2b we can observe the changes due to monopolisation.
▪ They test their models by sending signals back through the electrodes and observing changes in behavior.
▪ As many commentators have observed, a change in attitude is a large part of what the Act is about.
▪ Susskind Eikhl came back and I observed a change in his face.
▪ Similarly we can only make inferences about the nature of learning from observing these changes.
▪ He then takes the action, observes the changes and compares them with his stored version of those expected.
▪ No variation was observed in the hybridization patterns of the normals.
▪ Looking at the results for length of the pendulum string, one observes a consistent pattern.
▪ For instance, the Expert can observe regular patterns of irregularities in the mains supply and anticipate them in future.
▪ Examine the content and structure of any sentence in this or any other book and you will observe this same pattern.
▪ You should still observe the general rules for stairs.
▪ We observe the international rules of warfare in this head.
▪ She wanted to touch him, but continued to observe the rules that kept them apart during office hours.
▪ I sat down and talked with him a couple of times, obviously being very careful to observe all the rules.
▪ Similarly, a requirement that the expert observe the rules of natural justice could be made a contractual obligation.
▪ I myself always observed this rule.
▪ Guests reclined on couches, observing strict rules as to their positions.
▪ Members of the Commission qua members of the Commission had to observe the rules in performance of the treaty.
▪ Hakeem is currently observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and fasts between sunrise and sunset.
▪ I didn't observe anything out of the ordinary about her behaviour that day.
▪ I love to observe people at work.
▪ More than 90% of Jews said they observed the Day of Atonement.
▪ Psychologists observed that the mice became more aggressive when they were put in smaller cages.
▪ Rebels continue to observe the truce.
▪ The space shuttle crew will observe the atmosphere, aurora, and stars.
▪ Thursday is Ascension Day, when the church observes the bodily ascension of Christ into heaven.
▪ Too many accidents are occurring at work because employers are not observing safety regulations.
▪ Visitors are encouraged to look around and observe how things work.
▪ We try to observe the local customs so that we don't offend people.
▪ You can avoid danger by observing these simple rules.
▪ Zella and George observed their 55th wedding anniversary last August.
▪ All the decorum we ve observed over the months since my return to the city breaks down.
▪ If we look at other photographic genres, we can also observe the way in which commodity culture has affected their development.
▪ On another day I had observed her in deep contemplation of a dead lamb.
▪ The more time you spend with horses observing their behaviour, the more effectively you will be able to judge their moods.
▪ Thus, it is not necessarily inconsistent to observe what seems to be impulsive behavior after the will is present.
▪ Workers observing it and about to leave on their own foraging, immediately fly off in the direction indicated.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Observe \Ob*serve"\, v. i.

  1. To take notice; to give attention to what one sees or hears; to attend.

  2. To make a remark; to comment; to make an observation[3]; -- generally with on or upon.

    I have barely quoted . . . without observing upon it.

    Syn: To remark. See Remark.


Observe \Ob*serve"\ ([o^]b*z[~e]rv"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Observed ([o^]b*z[~e]rvd"); p. pr. & vb. n. Observing.] [L. observare, observatum; ob (see Ob-) + servare to save, preserve, keep, heed, observe: cf. F. observer. See Serve.]

  1. To take notice of by appropriate conduct; to conform one's action or practice to; to keep; to heed; to obey; to comply with; as, to observe rules or commands; to observe civility.

    Ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread.
    --Ex. xii. 17.

    He wolde no such cursedness observe.

    Must I budge? Must I observe you?

    With solemn purpose to observe Immutably his sovereign will.

  2. To be on the watch respecting; to pay attention to; to notice with care; to see; to perceive; to notice; to discover; as, to observe an eclipse; to observe the color or fashion of a dress; to observe the movements of an army; to observe an accident.

  3. To express as what has been noticed; to utter as a remark; to say in a casual or incidental way; to remark.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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- (1) "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.


vb. (lb en transitive) To notice or view, especially carefully or with attention to detail.

  1. v. discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of; "She detected high levels of lead in her drinking water"; "We found traces of lead in the paint" [syn: detect, find, discover, notice]

  2. make mention of; "She observed that his presentation took up too much time"; "They noted that it was a fine day to go sailing" [syn: note, mention, remark]

  3. observe with care or pay close attention to; "Take note of this chemical reaction" [syn: note, take note]

  4. watch attentively; "Please observe the reaction of these two chemicals"

  5. show respect towards; "honor your parents!" [syn: respect, honor, honour, abide by] [ant: disrespect]

  6. celebrate, as of holidays or rites; "Keep the commandments"; "celebrate Christmas"; "Observe Yom Kippur" [syn: celebrate, keep]

  7. follow with the eyes or the mind; "Keep an eye on the baby, please!"; "The world is watching Sarajevo"; "She followed the men with the binoculars" [syn: watch, follow, watch over, keep an eye on]

  8. observe correctly or closely; "The pianist kept time with the metronome"; "keep count"; "I cannot keep track of all my employees" [syn: keep, maintain]

  9. conform one's action or practice to; "keep appointments"; "she never keeps her promises"; "We kept to the original conditions of the contract" [syn: keep]

Usage examples of "observe".

Q Factor Aberrants has not previously been observed to lead to aberrancy in the offspring of such alliances, since the aberrant factors do not appear to be inherited to any significant extent.

Bonnain and Payne have observed analogous cases of this abnormality of the vaginal opening and subsequent accouchement by the anus.

Why has the Primal not remained self-gathered so that there be none of this profusion of the manifold which we observe in existence and yet are compelled to trace to that absolute unity?

Even in such acts as this acertain amount of decorum was to be observed.

The small quantity of white flocculent precipitate which may be observed in the acetic acid solution before titrating, contains the whole of the iron as ferric arsenate.

These words are read out by the priest in a deep voice to all who are about to observe the Holy Supper, and are listened to by them in full acknowledgment that they are true.

And more than this, read nine of these cases, which he has published, as I have just done, and observe the absolute nullity of aconite, belladonna, and bryonia, against the symptoms over which they are pretended to exert such palpable, such obvious, such astonishing influences.

An observing critic who, without being acquainted with us, wished to guess whether love was present at our happy party, might have suspected, perhaps, but he certainly could not have affirmed, that it was there.

He justly observes, that in the recent changes, both religions had been alternately disgraced by the seeming acquisition of worthless proselytes, of those votaries of the reigning purple, who could pass, without a reason, and without a blush, from the church to the temple, and from the altars of Jupiter to the sacred table of the Christians.

I have observed how Bel Adad, our very own Patesi, plays all ends against the middle and hopes the three will destroy each other to leave him the victor.

Nessler tube and the colour compared with that observed in a similar tube containing water and potassium iodide on adding the standard solution of bismuth.

In this state of disgrace and agony, two bishops, Isaiah of Rhodes and Alexander of Diospolis, were dragged through the streets of Constantinople, while their brethren were admonished, by the voice of a crier, to observe this awful lesson, and not to pollute the sanctity of their character.

The body, however, was but a pompous trifle, and I had for many a day held his observes and admonishments in no very reverential estimation.

It may be sufficient to observe, that whatever could adorn the dignity of a great capital, or contribute to the benefit or pleasure of its numerous inhabitants, was contained within the walls of Constantinople.

Once a religion is established in a nation the Lord leads that nation according to the precepts and tenets of its own religion, and He has provided that there should be precepts in every religion like those in the Decalog, that God should be worshiped, His name not be profaned, a holy day be observed, that parents be honored, murder, adultery and theft not be committed, and false witness not be spoken.