• synonyms


[oh-ver-see-er, -seer]
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  1. a person who oversees; supervisor; manager: the overseer of a plantation.
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Origin of overseer

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at oversee, -er1
Related formssub·o·ver·se·er, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

superintendent, supervisor, head, executive, manager

Examples from the Web for overseer

Historical Examples

  • "Let the men rest and thank the gods," he said to his overseer.

    Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae

    Jennie Hall

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for overseer


  1. Also called (less commonly): overlooker a person who oversees others, esp workmen
  2. British history short for overseer of the poor; a minor official of a parish attached to the workhouse or poorhouse
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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

Word Origin and History for overseer


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper