[verb ser-vey; noun sur-vey, ser-vey]

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to survey land; practice surveying.

noun, plural sur·veys.

Origin of survey

1425–75; late Middle English surveien (v.) < Anglo-French surveier, Middle French surv(e)ier, surveoir to oversee, equivalent to sur- sur-1 + v(e)ier < Latin vidēre to see
Related formssur·vey·a·ble, adjectivepre·sur·vey, nounpre·sur·vey, verb (used with object)self-sur·vey, nounself-sur·veyed, adjectiveun·sur·vey·a·ble, adjectiveun·sur·veyed, adjective

survey. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for survey

Contemporary Examples of survey

Historical Examples of survey

  • In close connexion with the Survey and Lands Department is the topic of exploration.

  • Truth to tell, Burke was far from comfortable under that survey.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • After his survey he went behind the bar and got the revolver from under an overturned pail.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • “Nobody in this room could hope to escape,” was the verdict of that survey.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • The survey is wonderfully complete, and was compiled in a very short time.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

British Dictionary definitions for survey


verb (sɜːˈveɪ, ˈsɜːveɪ)

(tr) to view or consider in a comprehensive or general wayto survey the situation
(tr) to examine carefully, as or as if to appraise valueto survey oneself in a mirror
to plot a detailed map of (an area of land) by measuring or calculating distances and height
British to inspect a building to determine its condition and value
to examine a vessel thoroughly in order to determine its seaworthiness
(tr) to run a statistical survey on (incomes, opinions, etc)

noun (ˈsɜːveɪ)

a comprehensive or general viewa survey of English literature
a critical, detailed, and formal inspectiona survey of the nation's hospitals
British an inspection of a building to determine its condition and value
a report incorporating the results of such an inspection
  1. a body of surveyors
  2. an area surveyed
statistics a random sample
Derived Formssurveyable, adjective

Word Origin for survey

C15: from French surveoir, from sur- 1 + veoir to see, from Latin vidēre
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 survey

late 14c. "to consider, contemplate" (implied in surveyance), from Old French surveeir, from Medieval Latin supervidere "oversee" (see supervise). Meaning "examine the condition of" is from mid-15c. That of "to take linear measurements of a tract of ground" is recorded from 1540s. Related: Surveyed; surveying.


late 15c., survei, "oversight, supervision," from survey (v.). The meaning "act of viewing in detail" is from 1540s. Meaning "systematic collection of data on opinions, etc." is attested from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper