over·​see | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsē How to pronounce oversee (audio) \
oversaw\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈsȯ How to pronounce oversaw (audio) \; overseen\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈsēn How to pronounce overseen (audio) \; overseeing

Definition of oversee

transitive verb

1 : survey, watch From his hilltop home he can oversee the river below.
2a : inspect, examine oversees all new machinery
b : to watch over and direct (an undertaking, a group of workers, etc.) in order to ensure a satisfactory outcome or performance : supervise was hired to oversee the design and construction of the new library oversaw 20 employees

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Examples of oversee in a Sentence

He was hired to oversee design and construction of the new facility. will oversee the new manufacturing division

Recent Examples on the Web

As Interior Secretary, Zinke was responsible for overseeing the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, and the National Parks Service. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Trump’s Interior Secretary will step down at the end of the year," 15 Dec. 2018 At a hearing Friday in San Diego federal court, the judge overseeing the process commended the government on its progress so far while urging officials to keep up the pace. Kartikay Mehrotra, BostonGlobe.com, "Reunited immigrant families face difficult choice: try to stay legally or leave children in the US," 14 July 2018 Sources at the court and City Hall say no one is clearly in charge of overseeing the court’s spending. Dan Klepal, ajc, "Atlanta judge spends lavishly on gifts, stationery and party invites," 11 July 2018 During the 1985 Maryland savings and loan crisis, Mr. Wharton took a lead role in the firm’s work with the conservatorship overseeing the failure of Old Court Savings and Loan Association. Frederick N. Rasmussen, baltimoresun.com, "John G. 'Jack' Wharton, noted real estate attorney, dies," 11 July 2018 Initially, there was some speculation whether Mr. Ekkapol, the 25-year-old coach who took the boys into Tham Luang Cave, might be criminally culpable for overseeing a trip gone wrong. Hannah Beech, New York Times, "Stateless and Poor, Some Boys in Thai Cave Had Already Beaten Long Odds," 10 July 2018 Downes said the department oversees 80 to 100 residential care homes in the state. Shawn R. Beals, Courant Community, "State Investigating Complaint At Middletown Residential Care Facility," 10 July 2018 Wendling said Wendt would oversee human resources, safety risk management, information technology, and the communications division. Sue Kiesewetter, Cincinnati.com, "Former Peace Corps official joins Fairfield administrative staff," 10 July 2018 One of the first projects overseen and conceptualized by Gjesing and his team was a book of photographs that showcased H2O’s Spring 2018 collection. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "This 1980s-Era Sportswear Label Is the Nautica of Denmark and It’s Making a Major Comeback," 15 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oversee.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oversee

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for oversee

Last Updated

5 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oversee

The first known use of oversee was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for oversee



English Language Learners Definition of oversee

: to watch and direct (an activity, a group of workers, etc.) in order to be sure that a job is done correctly


over·​see | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsē How to pronounce oversee (audio) \
oversaw\ -​ˈsȯ \; overseen\ -​ˈsēn \; overseeing

Kids Definition of oversee

: to be in charge of : supervise

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More from Merriam-Webster on oversee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oversee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oversee

Spanish Central: Translation of oversee

Nglish: Translation of oversee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oversee for Arabic Speakers

Comments on oversee

What made you want to look up oversee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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