sur·​vey | \ sər-ˈvā How to pronounce survey (audio) , ˈsər-ˌvā \
surveyed; surveying

Definition of survey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to examine as to condition, situation, or value : appraise
b : to query (someone) in order to collect data for the analysis of some aspect of a group or area
2 : to determine and delineate the form, extent, and position of (such as a tract of land) by taking linear and angular measurements and by applying the principles of geometry and trigonometry
3 : to view or consider comprehensively
4 : inspect, scrutinize he surveyed us in a lordly way— Alan Harrington

intransitive verb

: to make a survey


sur·​vey | \ ˈsər-ˌvā How to pronounce survey (audio) , sər-ˈvā \
plural surveys

Definition of survey (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of surveying: such as
a : a broad treatment of a subject
2 : something that is surveyed

Examples of survey in a Sentence

Verb A total of 250 city residents were surveyed about the project. 64 percent of the people surveyed said that the economy was doing well. The teacher surveyed the room. People were surveying the damage after the storm. Engineers surveyed the property to see what could be built on it. Noun The survey found some surprising tendencies among the population. We conducted an opinion survey on the issue and found that most people agree. a survey on American drinking habits Surveys of each department were conducted earlier this year. A survey of recent corporate layoffs reveals a new trend in business management. A new land survey changed the borders of their property. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wood also uses the results of annual Top Workplaces survey to check the pulse of the company and see how opinions vary from department to department. Michael Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, 18 May 2022 In addition, Grigorian said the DEC is going to survey its members to see what day is better for events. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 13 May 2022 Özdemir was also an amateur pilot, and as a boy Selçuk would survey Turkey’s splendid geography from the window of his father’s plane. The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 The third would be for index funds to survey their investors to assess their preferences and vote the shares under their control in accordance with those preferences. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 7 May 2022 In fact, one of the most bullish signs is how negative the current sentiment is, with a recent American Association of Individual Investors survey the most bearish since March 2009 (the month the market bottomed and advanced 23% for the year). Jonathan Boyar, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Videos showed smoke billowing into the sky as a crowd gathered to survey the destruction. Greg Norman, Fox News, 6 May 2022 After the scan, the kids broke into smaller groups to learn more about 3D scanning, modeling and using drones to survey land and buildings. Loren Holmes, Anchorage Daily News, 5 May 2022 Headed to survey the #CerroPeladoFire in Sandoval County and be briefed by tribal and federal agencies on the ongoing situation and firefighting efforts. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, 4 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meanwhile, concerns about COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine are in decline, the same survey shows. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 19 May 2022 Eight states likely have fewer residents than were recorded, the survey found: Hawaii, Delaware, Rhode Island, Minnesota, New York, Utah, Massachusetts and Ohio. Michael Wines,, 19 May 2022 Eight states probably have fewer residents than were recorded, the survey found: Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Utah. New York Times, 19 May 2022 An annual survey of the Chesapeake Bay has found the blue crab population at its lowest level since scientists began tracking the beleaguered species more than 30 years ago. Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun, 19 May 2022 The same survey also shows that hybrid teams exhibit greater psychological safety and intentionality and exhibit more significant equity between team members. Robert Bailkoski, Forbes, 16 May 2022 Over that period, the percentage of people using Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest has declined, the survey shows. Laura Forman, WSJ, 13 May 2022 An initial survey found that at least 4,000 students would benefit from the proposal, Criss said. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, 13 May 2022 Although Bain’s survey shows employees across every demographic value inclusion, respondents also indicated widely varying, and sometimes clashing, beliefs about how to foster more of it. Angela Yang, NBC News, 6 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of survey


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for survey


Middle English, from Anglo-French surveer, to look over, from sur- + veer to see — more at view

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Time Traveler for survey

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The first known use of survey was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Survey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for survey


sur·​vey | \ sər-ˈvā How to pronounce survey (audio) \
surveyed; surveying

Kids Definition of survey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to look over : examine The governor surveyed damage caused by the flood.
2 : to find out the size, shape, or boundaries of (as a piece of land)
3 : to gather information from : ask questions of We surveyed students to find out who was the most popular teacher.


sur·​vey | \ ˈsər-ˌvā How to pronounce survey (audio) \
plural surveys

Kids Definition of survey (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the action or an instance of gathering information or examining something
2 : something that is examined
3 : a history or description that covers a large subject briefly

More from Merriam-Webster on survey

Nglish: Translation of survey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of survey for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about survey


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