sur·​veil·​lance | \ sər-ˈvā-lən(t)s How to pronounce surveillance (audio) also -ˈvāl-yən(t)s How to pronounce surveillance (audio) or -ˈvā-ən(t)s How to pronounce surveillance (audio) \

Definition of surveillance

: close watch kept over someone or something (as by a detective) also : supervision — see also immune surveillance

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Examples of surveillance in a Sentence

government surveillance of suspected terrorists The bank robbery was recorded by surveillance video cameras.
Recent Examples on the Web In 2020, a former FBI lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering an email related to secret FBI surveillance of an ex-Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. Eric Tucker, ajc, 14 May 2022 Finally, electronic surveillance of El Teo’s telephone led them to an upscale neighborhood in La Paz, in the state of Baja California Sur. Sandra Dibble, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 May 2022 Investigators then tracked the Cadillac to a hotel in Evansville and began surveillance of the premises. Eric Levenson And Amanda Watts, CNN, 10 May 2022 Video surveillance of the argument showed Gerald Randle pulled a revolver on the other man and hit him with it before both men fired at each other, each suffering head injuries, according to the probable cause affidavit in the case. oregonlive, 9 May 2022 But Hyde has repeatedly denied that he was ever involved in any surveillance of the ambassador. Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, 7 May 2022 There's no footage of anything happening, and all the microphones suddenly stopped working, so the surveillance of their time on the beach is worthless. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 7 May 2022 An image taken by a CVS investigator during the retailer’s surveillance of Whitley. NBC News, 3 May 2022 Abou Shahadeh argued that the history of Israel’s spyware technology is tied to the surveillance of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 See More

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

1802, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surveillance

French, from surveiller to watch over, from sur- + veiller to watch, from Old French veillier, from Latin vigilare, from vigil watchful — more at vigil

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Time Traveler for surveillance

Time Traveler

The first known use of surveillance was in 1802

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Statistics for surveillance

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Surveillance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for surveillance


sur·​veil·​lance | \ sər-ˈvā-lən(t)s also -ˈvāl-yən(t)s or -ˈvā-ən(t)s \

Medical Definition of surveillance

: close and continuous observation or testing serological surveillance — see immune surveillance

More from Merriam-Webster on surveillance

Nglish: Translation of surveillance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surveillance for Arabic Speakers


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