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

  • n. A building, place, or institution designed and equipped for making observations of astronomical, meteorological, or other natural phenomena.
  • n. A structure overlooking an extensive view.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A place where stars, planets and other celestial bodies are observed, usually through a telescope.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A place or building for making observations on the heavenly bodies.
  • n. A building fitted with instruments for making systematic observations of any particular class or series of natural phenomena.
  • n. A place, as an elevated chamber, from which a view may be observed or commanded.
  • n. A lookout on a flank of a battery whence an officer can note the range and effect of the fire; usually referred to as an observation post.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A place or building set apart for, and fitted with instruments for making, observations of natural phenomena: as, an astronomical or a meteorological observatory.
  • n. A place of observation at such an altitude as to afford an extensive view, such as a lookout-station, a signaling-station, or a belvedere.

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

  • n. a building designed and equipped to observe astronomical phenomena
  • n. a structure commanding a wide view of its surroundings


French observatoire (influenced by conservatory), from observer, to observe, from Old French; see observe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the participle stem of Latin observāre +‎ -ory. (Wiktionary)



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