Observance vs. observation

  • An observance is (1) the act of complying with rule, custom, or law, (2) the act of celebrating a holiday or other ritual occasion, or (3) a customary rite or ceremony. Observation is the corresponding noun for all senses of observe not related to rules, holidays, rituals, and ceremonies.


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    It recommended that clearing firms oversee traders’ observance of those rules. [Financial Times]

    The CPR class was a part of Montefiore’s observance of American Heart Month. [New York Daily News]


    One was treated and released but one remains in hospital under observation. []

    Without any hard evidence, however, we’ll treat this observation much as we would a UFO sighting. [The Australian]

    But the technique requires immaculate planning, precise timing and careful observation. [Los Angeles Times]


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