1580s, "frequently met with" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin obvius "that is in the way, presenting itself readily, open, exposed, commonplace," from obviam (adv.) "in the way," from ob "in front of, against" (see ob-) + viam, accusative of via "way" (from PIE root *wegh- "to go, move, transport in a vehicle"). Meaning "plain to see, evident" is recorded from 1630s. Related: Obviously; obviousness.
updated on July 29, 2019