late 14c., observacioun, "the performance of a religious rite," from Old French observation (c. 1200) and directly from Latin observationem (nominative observatio) "a watching over, observance, investigation," noun of action from past-participle stem of observare "watch over, note, heed, look to, attend to, guard, regard, comply with," from ob "in front of, before" (see ob-) + servare "to watch, keep safe," from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect." Sense of "act or fact of paying attention" is from 1550s. Meaning "a remark in reference to something observed" is recorded from 1590s.
updated on July 26, 2019
Dictionary entries near observation