Definition of observance in US English:



  • 1The action or practice of fulfilling or respecting the requirements of law, morality, or ritual.

    ‘strict observance of the rules’
    ‘the decline in religious observance’
    • ‘The observance of conventions, traditions, and institutional norms permits purposeful choice and action within a frame work that sets limits to possible outcomes.’
    • ‘Fireworks, red lanterns, dragon dancing, bells chiming… these have been the symbols of the Chinese people's observance of Spring Festival for centuries.’
    • ‘These medallions will be made at the Perth Mint that guarantees their weight, gold and silver content and strict observance of the limited mintage.’
    • ‘Examples included interethnic cooperation or observance of the rule of law.’
    • ‘Daya Nath believed that mental purity could only be obtained through renunciation of the world, observance of rituals, introspection, and yoga.’
    • ‘I did not understand that God did not merely require the outward observance of certain rituals but rather a clean heart and a holy life.’
    • ‘In the management of its global operations, IBM the world's largest computer maker has been well known for its strict observance of clean business ethics.’
    • ‘A finding of an abuse requires, first, a combination of objective circumstances in which, despite formal observance of the conditions laid down by the Community rules, the purpose of those rules has not been achieved.’
    • ‘What they need from me is a reduction in weight, an increase in overall physical activity, and observance of the correct diet.’
    • ‘Renewed emphasis on the strict observance of ‘know your customer’ and collateral policies are needed to ensure that lending standards do not slip during boom periods.’
    • ‘The Queen is meticulous in her strict observance of the constitution and keeps her role to herself; which does not necessarily mean she has never privately consulted her husband, when she could with propriety do so.’
    • ‘It is known, among other things, for its strict observance of the Sabbath.’
    • ‘‘This is not an acquisition programme or venture which requires tenders and observance of section 217 of the Constitution,’ he said.’
    • ‘Strict observance of the new regulations could require, for instance, the inappropriate installation of PVC windows.’
    • ‘Canada's central bank can only raise or lower credit rates and cash levels in strict observance of what the US central bank is doing, or else risk utter economic chaos in this country.’
    • ‘The argument can be made that this is a symbolic gesture, appropriate to the government's observance of Women's Day, and that much more meaningful work is being done as part of ongoing programmes.’
    • ‘The liminal status of a given character is frequently signalled by deviations in his/her observance of everyday communal rituals.’
    • ‘During the outbreak in Toronto hospitals, health care workers became infected with the virus despite observance of strict infection control precautions.’
    • ‘Here again, more than the enforcement of strict road regulations, observance of traffic rules by drivers would prevent traffic jams.’
    • ‘It has become the object of a global cult, and the money which it absorbs from the world is a from of practical worship, a daily puja, the ritual observance of its omnipotence.’
    rite, ritual, ceremony, ceremonial, celebration, practice, service, office, festival, tradition, custom, convention, usage, habit, formality, form
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    1. 1.1usually observances An act performed for religious or ceremonial reasons.
      ‘official anniversary observances’
      • ‘Hot cross buns are thought to have cemented their link with Christian observances in the late 14th century at an abbey in England.’
      • ‘Most people could name only a few of the Pimbwe gods, clan observances, or customary procedures.’
      • ‘Firstly he was telling me stories, Bible stories, he was teaching me observances and not just teaching, but we were performing those observances.’
      • ‘One of the reasons for increasing participation in many of these observances could be the shrinkage in the amount of time that families spend together in these days of nuclear families and working parents.’
      • ‘I do not watch or take part in any official observances.’
      • ‘Each culture has specific mourning rites and observances that are integrated with Christian beliefs and rituals.’
      • ‘He repudiated all formal observances of Jewish tradition, however, immersing himself instead in the study of the Greek and Roman classics, which he would later teach in an elite Viennese high school.’
      • ‘Lamas (religious leaders) skilled in rituals perform the necessary religious observances.’
      • ‘Sufis have occasionally dispensed with the traditional observances of Islam, such as the haj to Mecca, although most have observed the customary rules.’
      • ‘Burial practices vary by religious group, but for the most part funeral and burial observances are the responsibility of the deceased's family.’
      • ‘Had this decision of the Commissioner's been part of a policy decision about religious observances in the Police Service, in which all religious practices were being considered, and removed, no one could quarrel.’
      • ‘They are disappointed that they cannot encourage their adult children and grandchildren to get involved, except possibly for special observances, such as Christmas.’
      • ‘This gave the clergy an excuse to abolish them and replace them with purely Christian observances.’
      • ‘Guyanese American cultural traditions have been preserved by the religious observances of weddings, baptisms, and funerals.’
      • ‘The essence of religion, the philosopher William James argued, lies not in the rites and observances of ecclesiastical life, but in the ‘feelings, acts and experiences of individual men’.’
      • ‘It is encouraging to know that the Scottish spokesman of the Muslim Association of Great Britain supports religious observances, Christian or otherwise.’
      • ‘While Roman Catholics marched for their saviour, as part of Corpus Christi observances, other residents had a march of their own.’
      • ‘Over a time period, pagan festivals replaced biblical feasts of Old Testament and the observances of Christmas and Easter became a part of Christian tradition.’
      • ‘Many religions go through ceremonies or observances of rituals to become pure or to be healed.’
      • ‘The one and only issue for the Church in all the observances of the ceremonial laws of Moses is that they not be regarded as binding.’
      ceremony, rite, ceremonial
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    2. 1.2 A rule to be followed by a religious order.
      ‘he drew up a body of monastic observances’
      • ‘Particular emphasis is placed on not recognizing the holy days or national observances of the infidels.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, during a period of religious persecution, most authorities agree that one should not abandon one's religious observances or studies out of fear of detection.’
      • ‘This does not mean we should reject the specificity of our traditions, our religious texts, holidays, observances or prayers.’
      • ‘Fullness of life is found in a faithful observance of religious rituals.’
      • ‘What did Woodsmall think about this denial of basic human rights on the basis of religious observances?’
      • ‘Christianity firmly held that faith was supreme; that deeds enacted as religious observances were inimical to right faith and served to divert man from his ordained goals.’
      • ‘Jesus lived under the Mosaic Law, with its rich layers of observances and rules.’
      • ‘Reform has also given prominence to the moral commands over the ritual observances.’
      • ‘The prayer in its present form is not in substance a religious observance, coercive or otherwise and it does not impose any burden on the applicant or any restriction on his exercise of his own beliefs.’
      • ‘Embrace religious vows, rules and observances and never waver in fulfilling them.’
      • ‘Although not religious, Ilan felt compelled to keep some significant religious observances in space to fulfill his dream of uniting the Jewish people and representing our nation.’
      • ‘They had some institutions of religious observances, including public prayers and fasts.’
      • ‘Do we pay close attention to our religious observances to the exclusion of the inner life of our hearts?’
      • ‘One of the saddest casualties of that process was the effective abolition of the Church's ancient observances of fasting and abstinence.’
      • ‘As long as an accessory is being used for a religious observance, it may not be used for any other purpose, out of respect for God's commandments.’
      • ‘Paul also showed the folly of hoping to find some saving power in religious observances.’
      • ‘This provides for all religious observances including fasting and Hajj to occur in all seasons during a person's life.’
      • ‘Why were the prayers, sacrifices and observances of these ancient Israelites not pleasing to God?’
      • ‘The influence of royal wives on their husbands' religious observances suggests the power that women exercised, even within the context of arranged political marriages.’
      • ‘The frugal virtues of Buddhism and Jainism were rejected and followers were encouraged to reject all religious observances and make the most of life's pleasures!’
  • 2The action of watching or noticing something.

    ‘the baby's motionless observance of me’
    • ‘Standing by her, eye to eye, he could see the tower in the distance behind her that he had noticed from his last observance.’
    • ‘I looked at him, searching for an elusive answer in my head, a witty reply to such careful observance.’
    scrutiny, observation, examination, inspection, watching, viewing, eyeing, looking
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  • 3archaic Respect; deference.

    • ‘To those who cautiously venture into such a hidden world, Wheeler advises respectful observance.’
    • ‘They make it work by sharing basic values and respecting each other's observance.’
    compliance with, adherence to, conformity to, obedience to, acquiescence in, accordance with, respect for
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Middle English: via Old French from Latin observantia, from observant- ‘watching, paying attention to’, from the verb observare (see observe).