over·​see | \ˌō-vər-ˈsē \
oversaw\ˌō-​vər-​ˈsȯ \; overseen\ˌō-​vər-​ˈsēn \; 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

What the job is: The vice chair works closely with the chair to oversee the caucus, also helping shape the party’s policy vision. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "All the Democrats running for top spots in the House," 15 Nov. 2018 As part of the move, DeepMind will likely be jettisoning its independent review panel, which was created to oversee its deals with the NHS. James Vincent, The Verge, "Privacy advocates sound the alarm after Google grabs DeepMind UK health app," 14 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, the observatory is still having difficulty attracting a chief scientist to oversee scientific operations. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "China still having trouble staffing up its mega-telescope," 5 Nov. 2018 The California Department of Motor Vehicles’ permit allows Waymo to oversee up to 40 fully autonomous vehicles that can drive day and night on city streets, rural highways and highways that have posted speed limits up to 65 mph. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Bitcoin turns 10, Apple’s first $100 billion quarter?," 1 Nov. 2018 My job is to oversee office efficiency, which means a lot of time on a computer. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "My Ride: The 1991 Saab 900 SPG, a Rare Turbo Hot Hatch," 19 Oct. 2018 Johnson plays Will Sawyer, a security contractor whose job is to oversee the safety of the world’s tallest skyscraper, a Hong Kong edifice that’s 3,500 ft. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Dwayne Johnson Scales New Heights in Skyscraper," 12 July 2018 While her initial hope was to oversee the renovations of her house and continue to live there, that is no longer an option. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar community rallies around 'icon' in need," 6 July 2018 The combination of these revelations — as well as the detail that chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg oversaw this lobbying effort to combat Facebook critics — were among the most damning in the report. Nick Statt, The Verge, "No one at Facebook seems to know who hired a DC opposition research firm," 15 Nov. 2018

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

4 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for oversee

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

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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 \
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 a clumsy heavy tread

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