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1. The act or practice of observing or complying with a law, custom, command, or rule.
2. The act or custom of keeping or celebrating a holiday or other ritual occasion.
3. A customary rite or ceremony.
4. The act of watching; observation: "Consider how much intellect was needed in the architect, and how much observance of nature" (John Ruskin).
5. Roman Catholic Church The rule governing a religious order.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. recognition of or compliance with a law, custom, practice, etc
2. the act of such recognition
3. a ritual, ceremony, or practice, esp of a religion
4. observation or attention
5. (Roman Catholic Church) the degree of strictness of a religious order or community in following its rule
6. archaic respectful or deferential attention. Also called (obsolete): observancy
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(əbˈzɜr vəns)

1. an act or instance of following, obeying, or conforming to a law, custom, etc.
2. a celebration by appropriate procedure, ceremonies, etc.: the observance of the Sabbath.
3. a procedure, ceremony, or rite, as for a particular occasion.
4. a rule governing a Roman Catholic religious house or order.
5. an act or instance of watching, noting, or perceiving.
[1175–1225; < Old French < Late Latin, Latin]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 of hermits: a company of hermits; a religious order, as the Franciscans, who observe and follow a rule—Bk. of St. Albans, 1486.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. 'observance'

The observance of a rule or custom is the practice of obeying it or following it. Observance is a fairly formal word.

Local councils should use their powers to ensure strict observance of laws.
2. 'observation'

You do not use observance to refer to the activity of watching someone or something carefully. The word you use is observation.

Stephens had crashed and was taken to hospital for observation.
By far the greatest part of his work is careful observation and precise thinking.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.observance - the act of observing; taking a patient look
looking, looking at, look - the act of directing the eyes toward something and perceiving it visually; "he went out to have a look"; "his look was fixed on her eyes"; "he gave it a good looking at"; "his camera does his looking for him"
monitoring - the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of it); "the monitoring of enemy communications plays an important role in war times"
sighting - the act of observing; "several sightings of enemy troops were reported"
stargazing - observation of the stars
2.observance - a formal event performed on a special occasionobservance - a formal event performed on a special occasion; "a ceremony commemorating Pearl Harbor"
social function, social occasion, occasion, affair, function - a vaguely specified social event; "the party was quite an affair"; "an occasion arranged to honor the president"; "a seemingly endless round of social functions"
circumstance - formal ceremony about important occasions; "pomp and circumstance"
funeral - a ceremony at which a dead person is buried or cremated; "hundreds of people attended his funeral"
hymeneals, nuptials, wedding, wedding ceremony - the social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed
pageantry, pageant - a rich and spectacular ceremony
dedication - a ceremony in which something (as a building) is dedicated to some goal or purpose
opening - a ceremony accompanying the start of some enterprise
commemoration, memorialisation, memorialization - a ceremony to honor the memory of someone or something
military ceremony - a formal ceremony performed by military personnel
induction, initiation, installation - a formal entry into an organization or position or office; "his initiation into the club"; "he was ordered to report for induction into the army"; "he gave a speech as part of his installation into the hall of fame"
exercise - (usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches; "academic exercises"
fire walking - the ceremony of walking barefoot over hot stones or a bed of embers
formalities, formality - a requirement of etiquette or custom; "a mere formality"
Maundy - a public ceremony on Maundy Thursday when the monarch distributes Maundy money
potlatch - a ceremonial feast held by some Indians of the northwestern coast of North America (as in celebrating a marriage or a new accession) in which the host gives gifts to tribesmen and others to display his superior wealth (sometimes, formerly, to his own impoverishment)
3.observance - the act of noticing or paying attention; "he escaped the notice of the police"
attending, attention - the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others
mind - attention; "don't pay him any mind"
remark - explicit notice; "it passed without remark"
4.observance - conformity with law or custom or practice etc.observance - conformity with law or custom or practice etc.
abidance, compliance, conformity, conformation - acting according to certain accepted standards; "their financial statements are in conformity with generally accepted accounting practices"
punctilio - strict observance of formalities
nonobservance - a lack of conformity with law or custom or practice etc.
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. carrying out of, attention to, performance of, respect for, notice of, honouring of, observation of, compliance with, adherence to, fulfilment of, discharge of, obedience to, keeping of, heeding of, conformity to Councils should ensure strict observance of laws.
carrying out of neglect of, disregard for, omission of, evasion of, inattention to, heedlessness of, nonobservance of
2. ceremony, rite, procedure, service, form, act, practice, tradition, celebration, custom, ritual, formality, ceremonial, ordinance, liturgy Numerous religious observances set the rhythm of the day.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. An act of willingly carrying out the wishes of others:
2. The act of observing a day or an event with ceremonies:
3. A formal act or set of acts prescribed by ritual:
4. The act of noting, observing, or taking into account:
5. The act of observing, often for an extended time:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
مُحافظَه على التَّقاليد أو الشَّعائِرمُراعاة القَوانين
òaî aî virîaòaî aî virîa reglur


[əbˈzɜːvəns] N
1. [of rule etc] → observancia f (of de) → cumplimiento m (of de) [of customs, rites etc] → práctica f
2. (= rite etc) → práctica f; (= custom) → costumbre f
religious observancesprácticas fpl religiosas
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[əbˈzɜːrvəns] n
[law, custom] → observation f
strict observance of the law → la stricte observation de la loi
[religion] → observance f
religious observances → observances religieuses
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(of law)Befolgung f, → Beachtung f, → Beachten nt
(Eccl) (= keeping: of rites etc) → Einhalten nt, → Einhaltung f, → Beachten nt; (= celebration)Kirchenfest nt; (in a convent etc) → (Ordens)regel f, → Observanz f; observance of the SabbathEinhaltung fdes Sabbats or (non--Jewish) → des Sonntagsgebots; religious observancesreligiöse or (Christian also) → kirchliche Feste
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[əbˈzɜːvns] nosservanza
religious observances → pratiche fpl religiose
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(əbˈzəːv) verb
1. to notice. I observed her late arrival.
2. to watch carefully. She observed his actions with interest.
3. to obey. We must observe the rules.
4. to make a remark. `It's a lovely day', he observed.
obˈservance noun
1. the act of obeying rules etc. the observance of the law.
2. the act of observing (a tradition etc). the observance of religious holidays.
obˈservant adjective
quick to notice. An observant boy remembered the car's registration number.
ˌobserˈvation (ob-) noun
1. the act of noticing or watching. She is in hospital for observation.
2. a remark.
obˈservatoryplural obˈservatories noun
a place for observing and studying the stars, weather etc.
obˈserver noun
a person who observes.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
Therefore a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep faith when such observance may be turned against him, and when the reasons that caused him to pledge it exist no longer.
Compacts of this kind exist among all civilized nations, subject to the usual vicissitudes of peace and war, of observance and non-observance, as the interests or passions of the contracting powers dictate.
I was in the mean time printing the material of Venetian Life and the Italian Journeys in a Boston newspaper after its rejection by the magazines; and my literary life, almost without my willing it, had taken the course of critical observance of books and men in their actuality.
But I hold that Christians are freed from the literal observance of the Fourth Commandment."
While in various silent ways the seamen of the Pequod were evincing their observance of this ominous incident at the first mere mention of the White Whale's name to another ship, Ahab for a moment paused; it almost seemed as though he would have lowered a boat to board the stranger, had not the threatening wind forbade.
So in the same way Moscow was empty when Napoleon, weary, uneasy, and morose, paced up and down in front of the Kammer-Kollezski rampart, awaiting what to his mind was a necessary, if but formal, observance of the proprieties- a deputation.
Their honesty is immaculate, and their purity of purpose, and their observance of the rites of their religion, are most uniform and remarkable.
observance, the most ardent love, the most melting tenderness, the
(especially that he had insisted only on the observance of external decorum, and had not sent a challenge) tortured him like a remorse.
As the cavalcade left the court of the monastery, an incident happened somewhat alarming to, the Saxons, who, of all people of Europe, were most addicted to a superstitious observance of omens, and to whose opinions can be traced most of those notions upon such subjects, still to be found among our popular antiquities.
Although convinced that tattooing was a religious observance, still the nature of the connection between it and the superstitious idolatry of the people was a point upon which I could never obtain any information.
On the other hand, Richard was as rigid in the observance of the canons of his church as he was inflexible in his opinions.