Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “observe”

See all translations

observe

verb [T] uk   /əbˈzɜːv/ us    /-ˈzɝːv/

observe verb [T] (WATCH)

B2 formal to watch carefully the way something happens or the way someone does something, especially in order to learn more about it: The role of scientists is to observe and describe the world, not to try to control it. [+ question word] He spent a year in the jungle, observing how deforestation is affecting local tribes. Children learn by observing adults.
More examples

observe verb [T] (NOTICE)

C1 formal to notice or see: Jack observed a look of anxiety on his brother's face. [+ question word] The guards failed to observe who delivered the package. [+ that] In all these films one observes that directors are taking a new interest in Native American culture. [+ infinitive without to] A teacher observed her climb over the gate.
More examples

observe verb [T] (SAY)

formal to make a remark about something: [+ speech] "I've always found German cars very reliable," he observed. [+ that] She observed that it would soon be time to stop for lunch.

observe verb [T] (OBEY)

C2 formal to obey a law, rule, or custom: People must observe the law. Nobody should be an exception. The old people in the village still observe the local traditions. Do you observe Passover?
observable
adjective uk   /-ˈzɜː.və.bl̩/ us    /-ˈzɝː.və.bl̩/
There's no observable connection between the two events.
observably
adverb uk   /-ˈzɜː.və.bli/ us    /-ˈzɝːː.və.bli/
(Definition of observe from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of observe?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “observe” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

christmassy

typical of Christmas, or happy because it is Christmas

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

tweleb noun

December 22, 2014
informal a Twitter celebrity; (more specifically, someone who has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter) There were a few old and a few new faces, including a tweleb or two. Expect to see and hear more from these cool kids.

Read More