American English

Definition of obvious adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1obvious (to somebody) (that…) easy to see or understand synonym clear It was obvious to everyone that the child had been badly treated. It's obvious from what she said that something is wrong. I know you don't like her, but try not to make it so obvious. He agreed with obvious pleasure. For obvious reasons, I'd prefer not to give my name. The reasons for this decision were not immediately obvious. Thesaurusclearobvious apparent evident plainThese words all describe something that is easy to see or understand and leaves no doubts or confusion.clear easy to see or understand and leaving no doubts:Her instructions were very clear.obvious easy to see or understand:I don't understand how you missed such an obvious error.apparent [not usually before noun] (somewhat formal) easy to see or understand:It soon became apparent that everything had gone wrong.evident (somewhat formal) easy to see or understand:The orchestra played with evident enjoyment.plain easy to see or understand:He made it very plain that he wanted us to leave.which word?These words all have almost exactly the same meaning. There are slight differences in register and patterns of use. If you make something clear/plain, you do so deliberately because you want people to understand something; if you make something obvious, you usually do it without meaning to:I hope I make myself obvious. Try not to make it so clear/plain.In the expressions clear majority, for obvious reasons, for no apparent reason, and plain to see, none of the other words can be used instead. You can have a clear/an obvious/a plain case of something but not:an evident case of something.Patterns clear/obvious/apparent/evident/plain to somebody/something clear/obvious/apparent/evident/plain that/what/who/how/where/why… to seem/become/make something clear/obvious/apparent/evident/plain perfectly/quite/very clear/obvious/apparent/evident/plain
  2. 2that most people would think of or agree to She was the obvious choice for the job. There's no obvious solution to the problem. This seemed the most obvious thing to do.
  3. 3(disapproving) not interesting, new, or showing imagination; unnecessary because it is clear to everyone The ending was pretty obvious. I may be stating the obvious, but without more money the project cannot survive.
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noun [uncountable]
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: obvious