sur·​veil | \ sər-ˈvāl How to pronounce surveil (audio) \
surveilled; surveilling

Definition of surveil

Examples of surveil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead of resourcing underserved neighborhoods, Detroit has spent millions of dollars to surveil its residents, ignoring the fact that these invasive programs have shown little to no impact on crime. Tawana Petty, Wired, "Defending Black Lives Means Banning Facial Recognition," 10 July 2020 Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, police in cities like Los Angeles and New York have tried to infiltrate and surveil American Muslims. Amir Hussain, The Conversation, "Muslim Americans assert solidarity with Black Lives Matter, finding unity within a diverse faith group," 30 June 2020 An anonymous tip led authorities to surveil Kelly, who was staying at a southeast Oak Cliff motel, the complaint says, with Rudley in an adjoining room. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Teens ‘exploited the chaos’ of Dallas protests to steal dozens of firearms from gun store, feds allege," 5 June 2020 After Trump’s election, King urged him to create a program to surveil Muslims, along the lines of the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims after 9/11, which led to multiple legal settlements and no arrests. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "A New York Congressman Says That Trump Shows No Malice," 4 May 2020 Employers are finding high-tech ways to surveil their newly remote workforces. Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Amazon wasn't prepared for the coronavirus. Now it's facing major costs.," 30 Apr. 2020 Compare, for example, the technical solutions imagined for widespread and effective surveillance and detection of viral threats to the use of radar during World War II to surveil the skies, oceans, and battlefields to detect and track the enemy. Mark P. Mills, National Review, "The Auspicious History — and Future — of Basic Science Research," 29 Apr. 2020 Consider, for example, that the surveillance technology deployed to track terrorism ended up being used to surveil the Black Lives Matter Movement. Navneet Alang, TheWeek, "The temptation of coronavirus surveillance," 28 Mar. 2020 While South Korea, Singapore and China are among countries with broad power to surveil their citizens... Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "Coronavirus Turns 911 Calls Into Tracking Tool," 14 Apr. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of surveil

1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surveil

back-formation from surveillance

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about surveil

Time Traveler for surveil

Time Traveler

The first known use of surveil was in 1884

See more words from the same year

Statistics for surveil

Last Updated

15 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surveil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on surveil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for surveil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with surveil

Nglish: Translation of surveil for Spanish Speakers

Comments on surveil

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


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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