Word family noun obediencedisobedience adjective obedientdisobedient verb obeydisobey adverb obedientlydisobediently
From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishobeyo‧bey /əʊˈbeɪ, ə- $ oʊ-, ə-/ ●●● W3 verb [intransitive, transitive] OBEYto do what someone in authority tells you to do, or what a law or rule says you must do OPP disobey The little boy made no effort to obey. ‘Sit!’ he said, and the dog obeyed him instantly.obey an order/command Soldiers are expected to obey orders without questioning them.obey the law/rules Failure to obey the law can lead to a large fine.Don’t say ‘obey to someone/something’. Say obey someone/something: He refused to obey their orders (NOT obey to their orders).RegisterObey is used especially when talking about doing what laws or people in authority tell you to do. In everyday situations, people usually say do what somebody says:My husband never does what I say.COLLOCATIONSnounsobey the law/rulesShe’s the sort of person who always obeys the rules.obey an order/command/instructionThe first duty of a soldier is to obey orders.an obligation to obey (=to have a duty to do something)Citizens have an obligation to obey the law.verbsmust obey/have to obeyShe felt she had to obey her father, even though she thought he was wrong.refuse to obeyMany people felt the law was unfair, and refused to obey it.adverbsblindly obey (=to obey without asking any questions)He looked terrified, but blindly obeyed.obey instantly/immediatelyHe expected his orders to be obeyed instantly. THESAURUSobey to do what someone in authority tells you to do, or what a law or rule says you must doYou must obey a senior officer at all times.If everyone obeys the rules of the road, safety is much improved.do what somebody says especially spoken to do what someone has advised or ordered you to do. In informal and everyday situations, people usually say do what somebody says rather than obeyI did what you said but the car still hasn’t started.My husband never does what I say.do what you are told/do as you are told to do what your parent or teacher says you must do – used especially about childrenAt school, we expect the pupils to do what they are told.Do as you’re told and sit down.follow somebody’s orders/instructions/advice to do what someone says you should do, or advises you to doYou must follow your doctor’s orders.I followed the manufacturer’s instructions.I hope she’ll follow my advice.abide by something formal to accept and obey a rule, law, agreement etcPlayers have to abide by the rules of the game.respect formal to obey the law or customs of a place, even when you do not agree with them, because this is a necessary part of living in a society Smokers should respect the law, and only smoke in the privacy of their own homes. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
obeyLook how well their dog obeys.The mere recognition of a duty to obey achieves for the government what an overwhelming application of violence would not satisfactorily achieve.He fought to make his fingers remain closed on the dagger, but they would not obey him.I knew that if I didn't obey, I would be shot.You've got to obey instructions - to the letter.I expect my students to obey me.War criminals tried to justify their actions by saying that they were only obeying orders.You can teach most dogs to obey simple commands.Drivers obey speed laws only when they think the police are near.None of them actually obey the formal theory which suggests that altruism towards kin in human societies is directly in proportion to shared genes.All citizens must obey the law and be loyal to the Constitution.But an obligation to obey the law as it is understood in political writings today is a mere primafacie obligation.She was one of those people who obeyed the rules and was never irresponsible.The basic limitation on the obligation to obey the state arose from the fundamental purpose of the state.Soldiers must always obey their commanding officer.Girls of her day were taught to obey their in-laws and husbands.obey the law/rulesCoverdell must, that elected officials ought to obey the law.Our citizens want to obey the law.The first is to create a new bureaucracy to make sure that insurers obey the rules.They will always obey the law.But an obligation to obey the law as it is understood in political writings today is a mere primafacie obligation.Of course consent to obey the law is not a necessary condition of such an attitude.The question of whether this administration is willing to obey the law is too simplistic, we are told.I will postpone consideration of the obligation to obey the law until the last section of this chapter.
Origin obey (1200-1300) Old French obeir, from Latin oboedire, from audire to hear