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From under- +‎ see. Cognate with Dutch onderzien (to see below), German untersehen (to see below).


undersee (third-person singular simple present undersees, present participle underseeing, simple past undersaw, past participle underseen)

  1. (transitive) To see or look under or below; see below the surface of.
    • 1938, Saturday review of literature: Volume 18:
      Newfoundland guides, trying to point out to a fisherman a salmon in the water, may say: "You have to undersee the shine." Ken has a remarkable ability to "undersee the shine." He is not deceived by surfaces.
  2. (transitive) To look intently into; examine; inspect.
    • 1978, Karl D. Jackson, Lucian W. Pye, Political power and communications in Indonesia:
      At these less visible but still crucial levels, a substantial military presence would appear to have strengthened the capacity of the government to implement policy, by toughening the chain of command and by enabling officers to play watchdog roles "underseeing" civilian ministers.
  3. (transitive) To neglect; fail to see properly or adequately; turn a blind eye to; ignore.
    • 2002, Nicholas Weinstock, As Long As She Needs Me:
      But he didn't read books; he only oversaw, or undersaw, the niggling details of their mass production.
    • 2010, Wendelin Van Draanen, Stephen Gilpin, The Power Potion:
      Damien took an alternate route to oversee (or, more accurately, undersee) the execution of his dirty work.
    • 2011, Georgia O'Keeffe, Sarah Greenough, My Faraway One:
      Perhaps I was too fond of him at one time—perhaps too fond still—to be entirely fair to his work—Perhaps “oversaw” it formerly—when he potentially lived in me—& “undersee” it now when I am impatient with all tricks [...]

Related terms[edit]