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Follow vs Observe - What's the difference?

follow | observe |

In transitive terms the difference between follow and observe

is that follow is to walk in, as a road or course; to attend upon closely, as a profession or calling while observe is to follow or obey the custom, practice, or rules (especially of a religion).




(en verb)
  • To go after; to pursue; to move behind in the same path or direction.
  • To go or come after in a sequence.
  • We both ordered the soup, with roast beef to follow .
  • To carry out (orders, instructions, etc.).
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=4 , passage=The Celebrity, by arts unknown, induced Mrs. Judge Short and two other ladies to call at Mohair on an afternoon when Mr. Cooke was trying a trotter on the track.
  • To live one's life according to (religion, teachings, etc).
  • To understand, to pay attention to.
  • To watch, to keep track of (reports of) some event or person.
  • To be a logical consequence of.
  • To walk in, as a road or course; to attend upon closely, as a profession or calling.
  • * Shakespeare
  • O, had I but followed the arts!


    * (go after in a physical space) trail, tail * (in a sequence) succeed * (carry out) pursue * (be a consequence) ensue


    * (go after in a physical space) guide, lead * (go after in a sequence) precede

    Derived terms

    * followable * follow along * followed by * follower * following * follow in someone's footsteps * follow on * follow out * follow shot * follow suit * follow someone off a cliff * follow the leader/follow-the-leader * follow the queen * follow through * follow-through * follow up * follow-up * hard act to follow * soon to follow * tough act to follow

    See also

    * chase






  • (lb) To notice or view, especially carefully or with attention to detail.
  • :
  • *1892 , (Arthur Conan Doyle),
  • *:“One horse?” interjected Holmes. ¶ “Yes, only one.” ¶ “Did you observe the colour?”
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-03, author=Frank Fish, George Lauder
  • , volume=101, issue=2, page=114, magazine=(American Scientist) , title= Not Just Going with the Flow , passage=An extreme version of vorticity is a vortex . The vortex is a spinning, cyclonic mass of fluid, which can be observed in the rotation of water going down a drain, as well as in smoke rings, tornados and hurricanes.}}
  • (lb) To follow or obey the custom, practice, or rules (especially of a religion).
  • :
  • *Bible, (w)
  • *:Ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread.
  • *{{quote-news, year=2011, date=November 10, author=Jeremy Wilson, work=Telegraph
  • , title= England Under 21 5 Iceland Under 21 0: match report , passage=A sell-out crowd of 10,000 then observed perfectly a period of silence before the team revealed their black armbands, complete with stitched-in poppies, for the match. After Fifa’s about-turn, it must have been a frantic few days for the England kit manufacturer. The on-field challenge was altogether more straightforward. }}
  • (lb) To comment on something; to make an observation.
  • :
  • *
  • *:Elbows almost touching they leaned at ease, idly reading the almost obliterated lines engraved there. ¶ ("I never) understood it," she observed , lightly scornful. "What occult meaning has a sun-dial for the spooney? I'm sure I don't want to read riddles in a strange gentleman's optics."
  • Synonyms

    * (follow a custom) celebrate

    Derived terms

    * observance * observant * observation * observational * observatory * observer


    * * English reporting verbs ----