[ soo-per-vahy-zer ]
/ ˈsu pərˌvaɪ zər /
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See synonyms for: supervisor / supervisors on Thesaurus.com

a person who supervises workers or the work done by others; superintendent.
Education. an official responsible for assisting teachers in the preparation of syllabuses, in devising teaching methods, etc., in a department of instruction, especially in public schools.
(in some U.S. states) the chief elected administrative officer of a township, who is often also a member of the governing board of the county.
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Origin of supervisor

1425–75; late Middle English <Medieval Latin supervīsor, equivalent to supervid-, stem of supervidēre to supervise + -tor-tor, with dt>s


su·per·vi·sor·ship, nounpre·su·per·vi·sor, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does supervisor mean?

A supervisor is someone who oversees and provides direction for someone or something.

More simply, a supervisor is someone who supervises. It’s most commonly used in the context of the workplace to refer to a type of manager who supervises other employees.

The adjective supervisory describes things that involve supervision. A supervisor’s role can be described as supervisory.

Supervisor can be used more specifically in the context of education to refer to a type of official or tutor or in the context of government to refer to a type of elected local official who serves on a board with other supervisors.

Example: The key to being a good supervisor is to give your employees enough space to do their jobs, instead of constantly standing over their shoulders.

Where does supervisor come from?

The first records of the word supervisor come from the 1400s. Its base word, supervise, ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin verb supervidēre, meaning “to oversee.” In fact, the word supervise quite literally means the same thing as oversee—the prefix super- means “over” or “above,” and the Latin verb vidēre means “to see” (the English word vision is based on the same root).

Sometimes, supervisors literally watch from above—like a supervisor supervising their employees from an office above the factory floor. In most cases, though, a supervisor simply closely oversees projects and the people working on them to make sure everything is proceeding as planned and that everyone is doing what they should be. A supervisor is often considered a boss, but supervisors almost always have bosses themselves. A supervisor is often a person who used to do the same job they are supervising.

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What are some words that share a root or word element with supervisor



What are some words that often get used in discussing supervisor?


How is supervisor used in real life?

Supervisor is most commonly used in the context of the workplace.



Try using supervisor!

Which of the following things should a person NOT do if they’re a supervisor?

A. watch over
B. provide guidance
C. keep an eye on things
D. ignore the situation

How to use supervisor in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for supervisor

/ (ˈsuːpəˌvaɪzə) /

a person who manages or supervises
a foreman or forewoman
(in some British universities) a tutor supervising the work, esp research work, of a student
(in some US schools) an administrator running a department of teachers
(in some US states) the elected chief official of a township or other subdivision of a county
obsolete a spectator

Derived forms of supervisor

supervisorship, noun
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