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[oh-ver-see-er, -seer] /ˈoʊ vərˌsi ər, -ˌsɪər/
a person who oversees; supervisor; manager:
the overseer of a plantation.
Origin of overseer
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at oversee, -er1
Related forms
suboverseer, noun
chief, head, boss, director. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for overseer
Historical Examples
  • "Let the men rest and thank the gods," he said to his overseer.

  • So I took her in, and the overseer said I was welcome to her.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • She was the overseer's cross; no one could help him bear it.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • The slaves sat round an overseer who shook the dozing and nudged the slow.

    The Age of Invention Holland Thompson
  • Don't she boss him round like the overseer on a cranberry swamp?

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Or ought this science to be the overseer and governor of all the others?

    Statesman Plato
  • Once an overseer challenged him, demanding to know his business.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • The overseer bade him go to the devil, and get out of the plantation.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • When a Kaffir strikes a diamond, he gets a commission, and so does his overseer.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Where would be the use of farming the land by help of such an overseer?

    The Economist Xenophon
British Dictionary definitions for overseer


Also called (less commonly) overlooker. a person who oversees others, esp workmen
(Brit, history) short for overseer of the poor; a minor official of a parish attached to the workhouse or poorhouse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for overseer

late 14c., agent noun from oversee (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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