Observance is when you obey a rule or law, or follow a long-standing tradition. If your religious observance requires you to fast for several days, you might ask your track coach to let you sit out a race.

Observance of traffic laws will usually keep you from getting expensive speeding tickets. And, practicing a religion usually includes various kinds of observance, from attending church or temple to wearing certain items of clothing. You can also use this noun to mean "watching or noticing," like a bird watcher's careful observance of a bush where he once spotted a rare finch — although this is more commonly called observation.

Definitions of observance
  1. noun
    conformity with law, custom, practice, etc.
    synonyms: honoring
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    a lack of conformity with law or custom or practice etc.
    strict observance of formalities
    type of:
    abidance, compliance, conformation, conformity
    acting according to certain accepted standards
  2. noun
    a formal event performed on a special occasion
    synonyms: ceremonial, ceremonial occasion, ceremony
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    formal ceremony about important occasions
    a ceremony at which a dead person is buried or cremated
    hymeneals, nuptials, wedding, wedding ceremony
    the social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed
    pageant, pageantry
    a rich and spectacular ceremony
    a ceremony in which something (as a building) is dedicated to some goal or purpose
    a ceremony accompanying the start of some enterprise
    commemoration, memorialisation, memorialization
    a ceremony to honor the memory of someone or something
    military ceremony
    a formal ceremony performed by military personnel
    induction, initiation, installation
    a formal entry into an organization or position or office
    (usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches
    fire walking
    the ceremony of walking barefoot over hot stones or a bed of embers
    formalities, formality
    a requirement of etiquette or custom
    a public ceremony on Maundy Thursday when the monarch distributes Maundy money
    a ceremonial feast held by some Indians of the northwestern coast of North America (as in celebrating a marriage or a new accession) in which the host gives gifts to tribesmen and others to display his superior wealth (sometimes, formerly, to his own impoverishment)
    inaugural, inauguration
    the ceremonial induction into a position
    burial, entombment, inhumation, interment, sepulture
    the ritual placing of a corpse in a grave
    sky burial
    a traditional Tibetan funeral ritual in which the corpse is exposed to the open air to be eaten by sacred vultures
    a new dedication
    coronation, enthronement, enthronisation, enthronization, investiture
    the ceremony of installing a new monarch
    bar mitzvah
    (Judaism) an initiation ceremony marking the 13th birthday of a Jewish boy and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility
    bas mitzvah, bat mitzvah, bath mitzvah
    (Judaism) an initiation ceremony marking the 12th birthday of a Jewish girl and signifying the beginning of religious responsibility
    commencement, commencement ceremony, commencement exercise, graduation, graduation exercise
    an academic exercise in which diplomas are conferred
    type of:
    affair, function, occasion, social function, social occasion
    a vaguely specified social event
  3. noun
    the act of observing; taking a patient look
    synonyms: observation, watching
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    the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of it)
    the act of observing
    observation of the stars
    the first sighting of land from the sea after a voyage (or flight over water)
    type of:
    look, looking, looking at
    the act of directing the eyes toward something and perceiving it visually
  4. noun
    the act of noticing or paying attention
    synonyms: notice, observation
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    explicit notice
    type of:
    attending, attention
    the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others
Word Family
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