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obey Syllabification: o·bey
Pronunciation: /əˈbā/

Definition of obey in English:


[with object]
1Comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of: I always obey my father
More example sentences
  • He knew that his people would always obey him, but no one ever visited him just to talk.
  • He was meant for royalty and people always obeyed him.
  • Jace always obeyed his mother, and respected her to the utmost.
do what someone says, carry out someone's orders;
submit to, defer to, bow to, yield to, give in to
comply with, adhere to, observe, abide by, act in accordance with, conform to, respect, follow, keep to, stick to
1.1Carry out (a command or instruction): the officer was convicted for refusing to obey orders [no object]: when the order was repeated, he refused to obey
More example sentences
  • The most likely explanation is that the militias' leadership is ordering this restraint, obeying the instructions of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.
  • They can only eat at set times, must carry ID cards, obey all staff instructions and are only allowed restricted visits.
  • The military commanders refused to obey their orders, in their minds for good and sufficient reasons.
1.2Behave in accordance with (a general principle, natural law, etc.): the universe was complex but it obeyed certain rules
More example sentences
  • Though sympathetic toward General Tang, Li said he still felt compelled to criticize General Tang for not obeying the moral principles of the military to never reprove superior officers.
  • Both generators obey the first ground rule of satire: meticulous observation.
  • The world looked on, deaf to pleas to intervene, and even when the president last week removed freedom of the press, the Commonwealth only uttered pious warnings about obeying democratic principles.


Middle English: from Old French obeir, from Latin oboedire, from ob- 'in the direction of' + audire 'hear'.

  • Latin oboedire ‘pay attention to’ is based on audire ‘to hear’ ( see audience). In the traditional Church of England wedding vows the husband promised ‘to love and cherish’ his wife ‘till death us do part’, while the wife promised to ‘love, cherish, and obey’ her husband. She who must be obeyed, was the title of the beautiful sorceress Ayesha in the adventure story She ( 1887) by Sir H. Rider Haggard, although many now know it better from Sir John Mortimer's television series and books about Rumpole of the Bailey, where Rumpole uses it to refer to his wife.



Example sentences
  • Oh well, they're both just the prime minister's hacks, recipients of his favours, obeyers of his orders.
  • I am ever an obeyer of God's order.
  • Rather than being a perfectly virtuous moral agent, it seems to me that an uncaring, robot-like obeyer of duty is morally bankrupt.

Words that rhyme with obey

affray, agley, aka, allay, Angers, A-OK, appellation contrôlée, array, assay, astray, au fait, auto-da-fé, away, aweigh, aye, bay, belay, betray, bey, Bombay, Bordet, boulevardier, bouquet, brae, bray, café au lait, Carné, cassoulet, Cathay, chassé, chevet, chez, chiné, clay, convey, Cray, crème brûlée, crudités, cuvée, cy-pres, day, decay, deejay, dégagé, distinguée, downplay, dray, Dufay, Dushanbe, eh, embay, engagé, essay, everyday, faraway, fay, fey, flay, fray, Frey, fromage frais, gainsay, Gaye, Genet, giclee, gilet, glissé, gray, grey, halfway, hay, heigh, hey, hooray, Hubei, Hué, hurray, inveigh, jay, jeunesse dorée, José, Kay, Kaye, Klee, Kray, Lae, lay, lei, Littré, Lough Neagh, lwei, Mae, maguey, Malay, Mallarmé, Mandalay, Marseilles, may, midday, midway, mislay, misplay, Monterrey, Na-Dene, nay, né, née, neigh, Ney, noway, O'Dea, okay, olé, outlay, outplay, outstay, outweigh, oyez, part-way, pay, Pei, per se, pince-nez, play, portray, pray, prey, purvey, qua, Quai d'Orsay, Rae, rangé, ray, re, reflet, relevé, roman-à-clef, Santa Fé, say, sei, Shar Pei, shay, slay, sleigh, sley, spae, spay, Spey, splay, spray, stay, straightaway, straightway, strathspey, stray, Sui, survey, sway, Taipei, Tay, they, today, tokay, Torbay, Tournai, trait, tray, trey, two-way, ukiyo-e, underlay, way, waylay, Wei, weigh, wey, Whangarei, whey, yea

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Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly