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From Middle English surveyen, from Old French sourveoir, surveer, from sour-, sur-(over) + veoir, veeir(to see), from Latin videre. See sur- and vision.


  • (noun):
    • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈsɜːveɪ/, or, especially formerly, as the verb
    • (US) enPR: sûrʹvā, IPA(key): /ˈsɝveɪ/, or, especially formerly, as the verb
    • The noun was formerly accented on the last syllable, like the verb.
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)veɪ
  • (verb):
  • Rhymes: -eɪ


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survey ‎(plural surveys)

  1. The act of surveying; a general view, as from above.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Denham
      Under his proud survey the city lies.
  2. A particular view; an examination, especially an official examination, of a particular group of items, in order to ascertain the condition, quantity, or quality.
    A survey of the stores of a ship; a survey of roads and bridges; a survey of buildings.
  3. An examination of the opinions of a group of people.
    The local council conducted a survey of its residents to help it decide whether to go ahead with the roadside waste collection service.
  4. A questionnaire or similar instrument used for examining the opinions of a group of people.
    I just filled out that survey on roadside waste pick-up.
  5. The operation of finding the contour, dimensions, position, or other particulars of any part of the Earth's surface.
  6. A measured plan and description of any portion of country.
    The owners of the adjoining plots had conflicting surveys.


Derived terms[edit]



survey ‎(third-person singular simple present surveys, present participle surveying, simple past and past participle surveyed)

  1. To inspect, or take a view of; to view with attention, as from a high place; to overlook; as, to stand on a hill, and survey the surrounding country.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Round he surveys and well might, where he stood, So high above.
  2. To view with a scrutinizing eye; to examine.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Dryden
      With such altered looks, . . . All pale and speechless, he surveyed me round.
  3. To examine with reference to condition, situation, value, etc.; to examine and ascertain the state of; as, to survey a building in order to determine its value and exposure to loss by fire.
  4. To determine the form, extent, position, etc., of, as a tract of land, a coast, harbor, or the like, by means of linear and angular measurements, and the application of the principles of geometry and trigonometry; as, to survey land or a coast.
  5. To examine and ascertain, as the boundaries and royalties of a manor, the tenure of the tenants, and the rent and value of the same.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jacob (Law Dict.) to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]


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