[ verb ser-vey; noun sur-vey, ser-vey ]
See synonyms for survey on
verb (used with object)
  1. to take a general or comprehensive view of or appraise, as a situation, area of study, etc.

  2. to view in detail, especially to inspect, examine, or appraise formally or officially in order to ascertain condition, value, etc.

  1. to conduct a survey of or among: to survey TV viewers.

  2. to determine the exact form, boundaries, position, extent, etc., of (a tract of land, section of a country, etc.) by linear and angular measurements and the application of the principles of geometry and trigonometry.

verb (used without object)
  1. to survey land; practice surveying.

noun,plural sur·veys.
  1. an act or instance of surveying or of taking a comprehensive view of something: The course is a survey of Italian painting.

  2. a formal or official examination of the particulars of something, made in order to ascertain condition, character, etc.

  1. a statement or description embodying the result of this: They presented their survey to the board of directors.

  2. a sampling, or partial collection, of facts, figures, or opinions taken and used to approximate or indicate what a complete collection and analysis might reveal: The survey showed the percentage of the population that planned to vote.

  3. the act of determining the exact form, boundaries, position, etc., as of a tract of land or section of a country, by linear measurements, angular measurements, etc.

  4. the plan or description resulting from such an operation.

  5. an agency for making determinations: U.S. Geological Survey.

Origin of survey

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English surveien (verb), from Anglo-French surveier, Middle French surv(e)ier, surveoir “to oversee,” from sur- sur-1 + v(e)ier “to see” (from Latin vidēre; cf. video, vision )

Other words from survey

  • sur·vey·a·ble, adjective
  • pre·sur·vey, noun
  • pre·sur·vey, verb (used with object)
  • self-survey, noun
  • self-sur·veyed, adjective
  • un·sur·vey·a·ble, adjective
  • un·sur·veyed, adjective

Other definitions for survey. (2 of 2)


  1. surveying. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use survey in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for survey


verb(sɜːˈveɪ, ˈsɜːveɪ)
  1. (tr) to view or consider in a comprehensive or general way: to survey the situation

  2. (tr) to examine carefully, as or as if to appraise value: to survey oneself in a mirror

  1. to plot a detailed map of (an area of land) by measuring or calculating distances and height

  2. British to inspect a building to determine its condition and value

  3. to examine a vessel thoroughly in order to determine its seaworthiness

  4. (tr) to run a statistical survey on (incomes, opinions, etc)

  1. a comprehensive or general view: a survey of English literature

  2. a critical, detailed, and formal inspection: a survey of the nation's hospitals

  1. British an inspection of a building to determine its condition and value

  2. a report incorporating the results of such an inspection

    • a body of surveyors

    • an area surveyed

  3. statistics a random sample

Origin of survey

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

Derived forms of survey

  • surveyable, adjective

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