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From Middle English obeyen, from Anglo-Norman obeir, obeier et al., Old French obeir, from Latin oboediō (also obēdiō (“to listen to, harken, usually in extended sense, obey, be subject to, serve”)), from ob- (“before, near”) + audiō (“to hear”). Compare audient. In Latin, ob + audire would have been expected to become Classical Latin *obūdiō (compare in + claudō becoming inclūdō), but it has been theorized that the usual law court associations of the word for obeying encouraged a false archaism from ū to oe, to oboediō (compare Old Latin oinos → Classical Latin ūnus).
- (General American) IPA(key): /oʊˈbeɪ/, /əˈbeɪ/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /əʊˈbeɪ/, /əˈbeɪ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪ
- Hyphenation: obey
obey (third-person singular simple present obeys, present participle obeying, simple past and past participle obeyed)
- (transitive) To do as ordered by (a person, institution etc), to act according to the bidding of.
- obey the rules
- obey your boss
- (intransitive) To do as one is told.
- Soldiers are trained to obey.
- (obsolete, intransitive) To be obedient, compliant (to a given law, restriction etc.).
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book III, Canto IV”, in The Faerie Queene. […], London: […] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC:
- They were all taught by Triton, to obay / To the long raynes, at her commaundement [...].
to do as ordered by
to do as one is told
to be obedient, compliant
- “obey”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “obey”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- ^ page 220, The Latin Language by L.R.Palmer (→ISBN, →ISBN), and online at this link.
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