When you take a good look at something, noticing facts or taking measurements, you are engaging in observation, something a little more intense than just a quick glance. When you share an observation, you communicate an insight.

The Latin verb observāre, "to attend to," is the foundation for our word observation, which requires that you pay attention. If a hospital holds you overnight for observation, they want to keep an eye on your condition. If you have a lot of funny or interesting observations on a topic, maybe you should write a book. Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell once said, "If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk."

Definitions of observation

n the act of observing; taking a patient look

observance, watching
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
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

n the act of noticing or paying attention

notice, observance
explicit notice
Type of:
attending, attention
the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others

n the act of making and recording a measurement

radio observation
an observation made with a radio telescope
Type of:
measure, measurement, measuring, mensuration
the act or process of assigning numbers to phenomena according to a rule

n a remark expressing careful consideration

reflection, reflexion
Parkinson's law
C. Northcote Parkinson's cynical observation that the number of subordinates in an organization will increase linearly regardless of the amount of work to be done
Parkinson's law
C. Northcote Parkinson's cynical observation that work will expand so as to fill the time available for its completion
Type of:
comment, input, remark
a statement that expresses a personal opinion or belief or adds information

n facts learned by observing

“he reported his observations to the mayor”
scientific fact
an observation that has been confirmed repeatedly and is accepted as true (although its truth is never final)
Type of:
a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.