sur·​vey | \sər-ˈvā, 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, 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

b : poll sense 5a

2 : something that is surveyed

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Examples of survey in a Sentence


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.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence expect about 24% revenue growth in the fiscal fourth quarter and 20% revenue growth for the coming year. Jay Greene, WSJ, "Salesforce Investors Are Looking for Guidance," 27 Nov. 2018 Twelve analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $10.7 billion. Scott Moritz, The Seattle Times, "T-Mobile’s subscriber gains top analysts’ expectations," 30 Oct. 2018 Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $847.1 million. Fox News, "Abercrombie & Fitch's 2Q sales fall short; shares drop," 30 Aug. 2018 Just 11 percent of teenage girls surveyed this year wanted to pursue a STEM career, unchanged from a year earlier. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "Traveling summer camp lets Elgin middle-schoolers experience STEM," 8 June 2018 Fifty-two percent of Prairie Village residents surveyed said they were concerned about the teardowns and rebuilds that have affected nearly 100 properties since 2015. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Teardowns have divided Prairie Village. Now residents have a chance to weigh in," 6 June 2018 More than 90 percent of parents surveyed said Pollio was providing effective leadership, up 7.5 percentage points from last year. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "JCPS needs Marty Pollio's leadership — not a state takeover, public education group argues," 24 Apr. 2018 Among 540 schools surveyed, total international enrollment held level while the number of new students fell by about 2 percent, marking the third straight year of declines. Collin Binkley, The Seattle Times, "US colleges attracting fewer new students from abroad," 13 Nov. 2018 The Census Bureau surveys factories across the U.S., asking them questions such as why has capacity increased and why is production below that capacity. Austen Hufford, WSJ, "More Factories Crop Up Closer to Customers," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The authors found this by analyzing 40 years of surveys from American high school seniors. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Teens are trying marijuana before alcohol and tobacco," 20 Nov. 2018 But because all three years of the survey are likely to suffer from the same problem, the comparison is still apples with apples. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Cultural barriers still stand in the way of HPV vaccine uptake," 4 Nov. 2018 But instead of shying away from some of the challenges this type of work poses, the students decided to publish the results of the survey as-is, and highlight its flaws. Tanay Warerkar, Curbed, "Yale School of Architecture exhibition questions gender disparity in the industry," 18 Oct. 2018 What’s more, the majority of that survey’s respondents incorrectly believed that miscarriage is rare, occurring in 5 percent or less of all pregnancies. Natalie Lampert, Marie Claire, "Why Women Reeling From Miscarriage Are Turning to the Web," 1 Oct. 2018 On Wednesday, Mas tweeted the results of a survey purported to show about 75 percent of the city’s voters supporting the stadium plan. Craig Davis,, "David Beckham, Jorge Mas encounter opposition in latest bid for Miami MLS stadium," 13 July 2018 Just 1 percent were international visitors, according to the results of 406 surveys collected over three days at last year's Taste by Blackstone Group, a market research firm. Morgan Greene,, "Who goes to the Taste? We looked at the data," 11 July 2018 Another new offering is the availability of home or business water surveys. Carol Cormaci,, "LCF Chamber of Commerce partners with FMWD to issue water-saving challenge, announce rebates," 11 July 2018 Retail-sales figures were also revised in light of a new survey, making them incomparable with those reported last year. The Economist, "China’s statistics are bad. Many criticisms of them are worse," 7 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for survey

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for survey

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

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More Definitions for survey



English Language Learners Definition of survey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to ask (many people) a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something

: to look at and examine all parts of (something)

: to measure and examine (an area of land)



English Language Learners Definition of survey (Entry 2 of 2)

: an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something

: an act of studying something in order to make a judgment about it

: an act of measuring and examining an area of land


sur·​vey | \sər-ˈvā \
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 \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on survey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with survey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for survey

Spanish Central: Translation of survey

Nglish: Translation of survey for Spanish Speakers

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

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to enclose within walls

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