in·​vig·​i·​late in-ˈvi-jə-ˌlāt How to pronounce invigilate (audio)
invigilated; invigilating

intransitive verb

: to keep watch
especially, British : to supervise students at an examination
invigilation noun
invigilator noun

Did you know?

Watch Out for the Origin of Invigilate

Invigilate is a descendant of the Latin verb vigilare, meaning "to stay awake." As you may have guessed, vigilare is the ancestor of our adjective vigilant ("alertly watchful"), and it also gives us reveille ("a signal to wake up in the morning," via French réveillez) and surveillance ("close watch, supervision," via French surveiller). Invigilate has been a member of the English language since the mid-16th century.

Example Sentences

He was asked to invigilate next week.

Word History


Latin invigilatus, past participle of invigilare to stay awake, be watchful, from in- + vigilare to stay awake — more at vigilant

First Known Use

1553, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of invigilate was in 1553


Dictionary Entries Near invigilate

Cite this Entry

“Invigilate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.