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observation Line breaks: ob¦ser|va¦tion
Pronunciation: /ɒbzəˈveɪʃ(ə)n/

Definition of observation in English:


1 [mass noun] The action or process of closely observing or monitoring something or someone: she was brought into hospital for observation units kept enemy forces under observation for days [count noun]: detailed observations were carried out on the students' behaviour
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.
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 act of taking the altitude of the sun or another celestial body to find a latitude or longitude.
Example sentences
  • For it is the duty of an astronomer to record celestial motions through careful observation.
2A statement based on something one has seen, heard, or noticed: he made a telling observation about Hughie
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, feeling, reflection;
finding, result;
note, annotation;
Law obiter dictum


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



Pronunciation: /ɒbzəˈveɪʃ(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: /ɒbzəˈveɪʃ(ə)n(ə)l/
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.

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