the science or scientific method of making surveys of land.
the occupation of one who makes land surveys.
the act of one who surveys: The surveying required nearly two days.

Origin of surveying

1425–75; late Middle English: act of examining closely; see survey, -ing1


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

verb (used with object)

to take a general or comprehensive view of or appraise, as a situation, area of study, etc.
to view in detail, especially to inspect, examine, or appraise formally or officially in order to ascertain condition, value, etc.
to conduct a survey of or among: to survey TV viewers.
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)

to survey land; practice surveying.

noun, plural sur·veys.

an act or instance of surveying or of taking a comprehensive view of something: The course is a survey of Italian painting.
a formal or official examination of the particulars of something, made in order to ascertain condition, character, etc.
a statement or description embodying the result of this: They presented their survey to the board of directors.
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.
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.
the plan or description resulting from such an operation.
an agency for making determinations: U.S. Geological Survey.

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

Examples from the Web for surveying

British Dictionary definitions for surveying



the study or practice of measuring altitudes, angles, and distances on the land surface so that they can be accurately plotted on a map
the setting out on the ground of the positions of proposed construction or engineering works


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 surveying



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