su·​per·​vise | \ˈsü-pər-ˌvīz \
supervised; supervising

Definition of supervise 

transitive verb

: to be in charge of : superintend, oversee supervise a large staff supervised the ship's daily operations

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Examples of supervise in a Sentence

The builder supervised the construction of the house. She supervises a staff of 30 workers.

Recent Examples on the Web

With supervised consumption sites, though, scale is a big problem. German Lopez, Vox, "A big, new review of the evidence finds that prescription heroin works," 6 Dec. 2018 Per The Daily Mail, the additions to the house include a nursery, and Pippa was photographed supervising a furniture delivery to the house on Tuesday. Harper's BAZAAR, "See New Pictures of Pippa Middleton Getting Ready For Baby," 29 Aug. 2018 Architects supervise the whole process (though arguably not very well, given the number of accidents depicted). Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient “comic strip” depicts the founding of a Roman city," 10 Oct. 2018 Star Wars veteran Richard Edlund supervised the special effects, and the monster designs come from Stan Winston, who earned an Oscar nomination that same year for his work on, that’s right, Predator. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "With Predator in theaters, it’s the perfect time to revisit The Monster Squad," 14 Sep. 2018 On Thursday, Homero Joshua Garza, also known as Josh Garza, has now been sentenced by a federal judge in Hartford, Connecticut, to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and more than $9 million in restitution. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Fake-cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme lands creator in prison," 14 Sep. 2018 Gregory Copeland, supervising attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s immigration law unit, said canceling the contract won’t release those who are detained by ICE in the jail and would only result in their detention in facilities even farther away. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, "New Jersey County Jail to Consider Ending ICE Contract," 11 Sep. 2018 Reality Winner, the 26-year-old former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who was charged with leaking classified documents, was sentenced to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release on August 23, as CNN reported. Araceli Cruz, Teen Vogue, "What to Know About Reality Winner, the 26-Year-Old Going to Prison for Leaking Classified Documents," 23 Aug. 2018 Susan Reed, supervising attorney with Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, which legally represented the children taken to Michigan, said all of the children have not been reunited with their parents. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Immigrant dad separated from son in Michigan: 'A pain in my heart'," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'supervise.' 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 supervise

circa 1645, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for supervise

Medieval Latin supervisus, past participle of supervidēre, from Latin super- + vidēre to see — more at wit

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Statistics for supervise

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for supervise

The first known use of supervise was circa 1645

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More Definitions for supervise



English Language Learners Definition of supervise

: to be in charge of (someone or something) : to watch and direct (someone or something)


su·​per·​vise | \ˈsü-pər-ˌvīz \
supervised; supervising

Kids Definition of supervise

: to coordinate and direct the activities of Who will supervise the workers while you are away?

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Comments on supervise

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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