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

Definition of surveil

transitive verb

: to subject to surveillance

Examples of surveil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Social media’s ability to simultaneously solicit and surveil communication has not only turned the dream of individualized, expressive democracy into a fountain of wealth. Fred Turner, Harper's magazine, "Machine Politics," 10 Jan. 2019 His investigators wanted to know how the bureau came to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, and in particular, the chronology of events that led them to seek a secret court order to do so. Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, "As Justice Dept. inspector general moves from Clinton email to Russia and Trump, he risks becoming a political weapon," 1 June 2018 Meanwhile, the privacy fears around Facebook have raised concerns about how Oculus will surveil its users. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: AR and VR," 30 Dec. 2018 The Nunes memo omits an unknown, but probably large, amount of contextual data about other sources of the warrants to surveil Page. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The Backward Logic of the Nunes Memo," 2 Feb. 2018 Authorities in the Xinjiang province surveil the Uighur people, who are predominantly Muslim, in the name of counterterrorism and imprison vast numbers of people in camps, according to Foreign Policy. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: Apple's latest security fix is deepening divisions over FBI access," 15 June 2018 Law enforcement might still use your friends’ social media accounts to surveil you, running photos through facial recognition. Ethan Chiel, New Republic, "The Injustice of Algorithms," 23 Jan. 2018 Among the regulations that come with it is legal permission for government employees to surveil and destroy drones that fly into sensitive airspace. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Are Hobby Drones Dead?," 7 Dec. 2018 That would allow the drones to deploy and surveil the property without the homeowner manually deploying it via the app, for example. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Drones Might Just Be The Future Of Home Security," 7 Dec. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of surveil

1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surveil

back-formation from surveillance

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Statistics for surveil

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surveil

The first known use of surveil was in 1884

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More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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