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"Water is wet" is a statement of the obvious.


16th century, from Latin obvius (being in the way so as to meet, meeting, easy to access, at hand, ready, obvious) +‎ -ous, from ob- (before) + via (way).[1]


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɑb.vi.əs/, (fast speech) /ˈɑ.vi.əs/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɒ.vɪəs/, /ˈɒb.vɪəs/, (fast speech) /ˈɒv.jəs/
  • Hyphenation: ob‧vi‧ous
  • (file)


obvious (comparative more obvious, superlative most obvious)

  1. Easily discovered, seen, or understood; self-explanatory.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter II, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, of errand not wholly obvious to their fellows, yet of such sort as to call into query alike the nature of their errand and their own relations. It is easily earned repetition to state that Josephine St. Auban's was a presence not to be concealed.
    • 1951 April, D. S. Barrie, “British Railways: A Survey, 1948-1950”, in Railway Magazine, number 600, page 224:
      During the first year or so of British Railways, some of the simpler and more obvious inter-regional transfers of outlying sections were effected, such as those of the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway from the London Midland Region to the Eastern Region; the South Wales lines of the former L.M.S.R. to the Western Region; the Carlisle-Silloth branch (an L.N.E.R. legacy of a North British "border raid") to the London Midland, and so on.
    • 1961 February, R. K. Evans, “The role of research on British Railways”, in Trains Illustrated, page 92:
      One of the most obvious results of the B.R. Modernisation Plan has been the increasing use of diesel and electric traction; a less obvious by-product is the increase in track damage possible with the new forms of traction.
    • 2013 August 17, “Down towns”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8849:
      It is not obvious, to economists anyway, that cities should exist at all. Crowds of people mean congestion and costly land and labour. But there are also well-known advantages to bunching up. When transport costs are sufficiently high a firm can spend more money shipping goods to clusters of consumers than it saves on cheap land and labour.



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  1. ^ obvious”, in The Century Dictionary [], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC, page 4070, column 1.

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