Ob`ser*va"tion (?), n. [L. observatio: cf.F. observation.]


The act or the faculty of observing or taking notice; the act of seeing, or of fixing the mind upon, anything.

My observation, which very seldom lies. Shak.


The result of an act, or of acts, of observing; view; reflection; conclusion; judgment.

In matters of human prudence, we shall find the greatest advantage in making wise observations on our conduct. I. Watts.


Hence: An expression of an opinion or judgment upon what one has observed; a remark.

"That's a foolish observation."


To observations which ourselves we make We grow more partial for the observer's sake. Pope.


Performance of what is prescribed; adherence in practice; observance.


We are to procure dispensation or leave to omit the observation of it in such circumstances. Jer. Taylor.

5. Science (a)

The act of recognizing and noting some fact or occurrence in nature, as an aurora, a corona, or the structure of an animal.


Specifically, the act of measuring, with suitable instruments, some magnitude, as the time of an occultation, with a clock; the right ascension of a star, with a transit instrument and clock; the sun's altitude, or the distance of the moon from a star, with a sextant; the temperature, with a thermometer, etc.


The information so acquired.

⇒ When a phenomenon is scrutinized as it occurs in nature, the act is termed an observation. When the conditions under which the phenomenon occurs are artificial, or arranged beforehand by the observer, the process is called an experiment. Experiment includes observation.

To take an observation Naut., to ascertain the altitude of a heavenly body, with a view to fixing a vessel's position at sea.

Syn. -- Observance; notice; attention; remark; comment; note. See Observance.


© Webster 1913.