Meaning of OBSERVATION in English


ob ‧ ser ‧ va ‧ tion W3 /ˌɒbzəˈveɪʃ ə n $ ˌɑːbzər-/ BrE AmE noun

1 . [uncountable and countable] the process of watching something or someone carefully for a period of time

observation of

Bloomfield’s approach to linguistics was based on observation of the language.

He spent two nights under close observation in hospital.

His orders were to keep the men under observation.

Art classes help develop children’s powers of observation.

Careful observation suggests that this is not the case.

Detailed observations were carried out on the behaviour of the students.

From their direct observations, children absorb a model of marriage.

2 . [countable] something that you notice when watching something or someone:

Some interesting observations emerged from this research.

3 . [countable] a spoken or written remark about something you have noticed

observation on

Darwin’s observations on the habits of certain birds

observation about

Paz makes some observations about the role of the critic.

4 . [uncountable] the act of obeying a law etc SYN observance

—observational adjective

• • •


■ phrases

▪ be under observation (=be in the process of being watched)

The police said that the house had been under observation.

▪ keep somebody under observation (=closely watch someone or something over a period of time)

The doctor ordered that the patient be kept under observation.

▪ sb’s powers of observation (=someone’s abilty to watch things in a way that helps them learn and understand more)

In the past, people used their own powers of observation to forecast the weather.

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + observation

▪ close/careful/detailed observation

A lot of useful knowledge is gained by careful observation of the world around you.

▪ casual observation (=observation that is not done in a very careful or organized way)

Even casual observation makes this theory improbable.

▪ direct observation

Piaget developed his theories based on direct observation of children.

▪ personal observation (=watching and understanding something yourself, rather than hearing or reading about it)

I knew cigarettes were addictive from personal observation.

▪ scientific observation (=observation done for scientific purposes)

Scientific observation led to the discovery of vaccines.

▪ classroom observation (=observation of a teacher and children in a classroom)

Classroom observation is only part of what school inspectors do.

■ observation + NOUN

▪ an observation post/point (=a place from where you can observe something)

The peak of the mountain was a natural location for an observation post.

▪ an observation deck/platform/tower (=a structure that is built in order to observe something)

The army built an observation tower on the top of the building.

■ phrases

▪ a period of observation

The hospital released him after a period of observation.

• • •


▪ comment something that you say or write in order to give your opinion:

Does anyone have any comments?


Readers are invited to send in their comments and suggestions.

▪ remark something that you say:

Just ignore them if they start making rude remarks.


I’m not sure what he meant by that last remark.

▪ point something that someone mentions about a subject in a discussion, argument, article etc:

That’s an interesting point, Steve.


He raises (=mentions) a number of important points in his paper.

▪ observation a comment in which you say what you think or have noticed about something:

Karl Marx made the observation that history repeats itself first as tragedy, second as farce.

▪ aside a comment made in a low voice, that you intend only certain people to hear:

‘Is that true?’, she whispered in an aside to Don.

▪ quip /kwɪp/ a clever and amusing comment:

She knew she should reply with some light-hearted quip.

▪ dig informal a comment you make to annoy or criticize someone:

I’m tired of her little digs at me.

▪ taunt /tɔːnt $ tɒːnt/ a comment intended to make someone angry or upset:

The fans made racist taunts throughout the game.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.