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observation Syllabification: ob·ser·va·tion
Pronunciation: /ˌäbzərˈvāSH(ə)n/

Definition of observation in English:


1The action or process of observing something or someone carefully or in order to gain information: she was brought into the hospital for observation detailed observations were carried out on the students' behavior
More example sentences
  • A daily visit from a health care worker is scarcely the same as the continual observation as hospital staff carry out their duties.
  • The very processes of measurement and observation influence the subject and change him.
  • This strange limitation arises because the very process of observation is inseparable from the state being measured.
monitoring, watching, scrutiny, examination, inspection, survey, surveillance, consideration, study, review
1.1The ability to notice things, especially significant details: his powers of observation
More example sentences
  • The secrets to both skills are patience, observation and attention to detail, he said.
  • Tombaugh's highly detailed powers of observation led him to discover Pluto in 1930.
  • The camera is a detached observer, and the strength of the film lies in its acute power of observation and detail.
1.2The taking of the altitude of the sun or another celestial body for navigational purposes.
Example sentences
  • For it is the duty of an astronomer to record celestial motions through careful observation.
2A remark, statement, or comment based on something one has seen, heard, or noticed: he made a telling observation about Hugh
More example sentences
  • An appeal can be in the form of a funny question, a witty observation, opinion or comment.
  • I excerpted a quote that summed up the point of the piece, followed by an observation based on revelation.
  • So she wasn't surprised when he countered her obvious statement with an observation of his own.
remark, comment, statement, utterance, pronouncement, declaration;
opinion, impression, thought, reflection;
Law obiter dictum


Late Middle English (in the sense 'respectful adherence to the requirements of [rules, a ritual, etc.]'): from Latin observatio(n-), from the verb observare (see observe).


under observation

(Especially of a patient or a suspected criminal) being closely and constantly watched or monitored: he spent two nights in the hospital under observation
More example sentences
  • It seemed that Earth was constantly under observation.
  • One obstacle is that doctors cannot definitively diagnose sleep apnea unless the patient spends a night under observation in a sleep lab.
  • She was kept in the acute patients' ward under observation.



Pronunciation: /ˌäbzərˈvāSH(ə)n(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • As you probably know, empirical data can be either observational or experimental.
  • The Year of the Big Drought is a blog that chronicles an observational experiment.
  • Discarding observational evidence when randomised trials are available is missing an opportunity.


Pronunciation: /-SHənl-ē/
Example sentences
  • Set in an ordinary week, the camera acts observationally to expose the underlying tensions and frustrations.
  • Behaviours that observationally look very similar have different meanings for different children.
  • He has not shown that his theory predicts any new facts about the structure and functioning of synapses that have been subsequently observationally verified.

Definition of observation in:

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