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1. Easily perceived or understood; apparent. See Synonyms at apparent.
2. Easily seen through because of a lack of subtlety; transparent: an obvious political ploy that fooled no one.

[From Latin obvius, from obviam, in the way, within reach : ob-, against; see ob- + viam, accusative sing. of via, way; see wegh- in Indo-European roots.]

ob′vi·ous·ly adv.
ob′vi·ous·ness n.
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. (The magnificence of the Ambersons was) as conspicuous as a brass band at a funeral —Booth Tarkington
  2. As conspicuous … as a butterfly among moths —George Feifer
  3. As conspicuous as a second nose —Mike Sommer
  4. As conspicuous as two fleas in a glass of milk, and about as welcome —Rosa Guy
  5. Blatant as a slammed door —George Garrett
  6. Her face was as easy to read as a crooked optometrist’s chart —Loren D. Estleman
  7. It was written all over him [that he was prone to trouble] in letters like headlines —William Humphrey
  8. Magnificence, like the size of a fortune, is always comparative —Booth Tarkington
  9. Noticeable as perfume —Wallace Stegner
  10. (The film has a payoff that’s as) obvious as a cream pie in the face —Gene Siskel, television review, October 13, 1986
  11. Obvious as a gesture —Stephen Crane
  12. Obvious as an elephant’s footprint —Anon
  13. (Those two guys can’t move around … without being) obvious as turds on butcher blocks —Harold Adams
  14. Obvious, like a poster forty feet high —J. B. Priestly
  15. (Her thoughts and her emotions had all been) outspread … like jewels —Edith Wharton
  16. Plain as a pig on a sofa —Flannery O’Connor
  17. (The case was as) plain as a pikestaff —Arthur Train
  18. Plain as graffiti on a brick wall —Elyse Sommer
  19. Plain as the nose on a man’s face —Rabelais

    A variation by Robert Burton: “As clear and as manifest as the nose on a man’s face.”

  20. Plain as the paint on a whore’s face —Stephen Longstreet
  21. Stick out like a pregnant woman’s stomach —Anon
  22. (He was) subtle as a salvo —Jonathan Gash
  23. There’s no one so transparent as the person who thinks he’s devilish deep —W. Somerset Maugham
  24. Transparent as water in a goldfish bowl —Anon
  25. Unobtrusive as the roar of a lion —Erich Maria Remarque
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



plain as a pikestaff Plain as day, obvious, clear-cut, evident. This proverbial expression, dating from the late 16th century, is a variant of the earlier, now obsolete, plain as a packstaff. The allusion is to the simple style and plain, smooth surface of a pikestaff, a type of walking stick with a metal point at the lower end.

The evidence against him was as plain as a pikestaff. (Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset, 1867)

plain as the nose on your face Exceedingly obvious; extremely conspicuous. This concept was conveyed by Shakespeare in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:

Oh jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible, As a nose on a man’s face, or a weathercock on a steeple. (II, i)

The expression, clearly derived from the prominence of the nose on the human face, has maintained common usage through the centuries.

It is as plain as the nose on your face that there’s your origin. (Thomas Hardy, Pair Blue Eyes, 1873)

point-blank See CANDIDNESS.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.obviousness - the property of being easy to see and understand
conspicuousness - high visibility
apparency, apparentness - the property of being apparent
blatancy - the property of being both obvious and offensive; "the blatancy of his attempt to whitewash the crime was unforgivable"
predominance, predomination - the quality of being more noticeable than anything else; "the predomination of blues gave the painting a quiet tone"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈɒbviəsnɪs] n [answer, solution, idea] → caractère m évident
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nOffensichtlichkeit f, → Deutlichkeit f; amused by the obviousness of his replybelustigt über die Eindeutigkeit or Plumpheit seiner Antwort
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
There is a way to take a fool; but a rogue is smart and slippery." This was an airy generalization drawn from the particular case of Captain MacWhirr's honesty, which, in itself, had the heavy obviousness of a lump of clay.
It seemed to me that, were I a gentleman like him, I would take to my bosom only such a wife as I could love; but the very obviousness of the advantages to the husband's own happiness offered by this plan convinced me that there must be arguments against its general adoption of which I was quite ignorant: otherwise I felt sure all the world would act as I wished to act.
Bertha, the slim, fair-haired girl, whose present thoughts and emotions were an enigma to me amidst the fatiguing obviousness of the other minds around me, was as absorbing to me as a single unknown to-day--as a single hypothetic proposition to remain problematic till sunset; and all the cramped, hemmed-in belief and disbelief, trust and distrust, of my nature, welled out in this one narrow channel.
"That's true," said I, crushed by the obviousness of the remedy; but of what use are forks if they are fifteen miles off?
At times the obviousness of my innocence would reduce me to despair.
This being so, they could not have refastened the sashes from the inside, as they were found fastened; - the consideration which put a stop, through its obviousness, to the scrutiny of the police in this quarter.
It never entered my head to be on my guard against his warmth and his terrible obviousness. You and he were the only two, infinitely different, people, who didn't approach me as if I had been a precious object in a collection, an ivory carving or a piece of Chinese porcelain.
scholars seeking to help the courts rebuild a pragmatic obviousness
Novelty and obviousness play a crucial role in the processes of examining, challenging, and reviewing patents, but those roles must remain independent of eligibility.
If you had to guess, you probably wouldn't need to consult Google to know that the search engine is on the number one spot, but as the list moves down from the YouTube/Facebook level of obviousness, some of the sites on this list may surprise you - or even be complete unknowns.
Initially, the Board denied institution of an inter partes review of those claims based upon all grounds asserted in the Petition, i.e., one anticipation and two obviousness grounds.