Definition of observation in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɒbzəˈveɪʃ(ə)n/


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.
watching, monitoring, scrutiny, examination, inspection, scrutinization, viewing, survey, surveillance, surveying, attention, 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 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).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ob¦ser|va¦tion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.