Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or practice of observing or complying with a law, custom, command, or rule.
  • n. The act or custom of keeping or celebrating a holiday or other ritual occasion.
  • n. A customary rite or ceremony.
  • n. The act of watching; observation: "Consider how much intellect was needed in the architect, and how much observance of nature” ( John Ruskin).
  • n. Roman Catholic Church The rule governing a religious order.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The practice of complying with a law, custom, command or rule
  • n. The custom of celebrating a holiday or similar occasion
  • n. Observation or the act of watching
  • n. A rule governing a religious order, especially in the Roman Catholic church

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or practice of observing or noticing with attention; a heeding or keeping with care; performance; -- usually with a sense of strictness and fidelity
  • n. An act, ceremony, or rite, as of worship or respect; especially, a customary act or service of attention; a form; a practice; a rite; a custom.
  • n. Servile attention; sycophancy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Attention; perception; heed; observation.
  • n. Respectful regard or attention; hence, reverence; homage.
  • n. The act of observing, paying attention to, or following in practice; compliance in practice with the requirements of some law, custom, rule, or injunction; due performance: as, the observance of the sabbath; observance of stipulations; observance of prescribed forms.
  • n. A custom, rule, or thing to be observed, followed, or kept.
  • n. A rite or ceremony; an act performed in token of worship, devotion, or respect.
  • n. Synonyms Observance, Observation. These words start from two different senses of the same root — to pay regard to, and to watch. Observation is watching or notice; observance is keeping, conforming to, or complying with. Observation was formerly used in the sense of observance: as, “the observation of the Sabbath is again commanded” (caption to Ex. xxxi.); “the opinions which he [Milton] has expressed respecting … the observation of the Sabbath might, we think, have caused more just surprise” (Macaulay, Milton); but this use is now obsolescent. It is desirable that the words should be kept distinct.
  • n. Form, Rite, etc. See ceremony.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the act of noticing or paying attention
  • n. conformity with law or custom or practice etc.
  • n. a formal event performed on a special occasion
  • n. the act of observing; taking a patient look

Etymologies

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Examples

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