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

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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

Harris was backed by 23% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters surveyed, Quinnipiac said. Joe Garofoli,, "Kamala Harris running neck-and-neck with Biden, Sanders in California poll," 17 July 2019 Among the 400 Democratic primary voters surveyed, the margin of error is plus-minus 4.9 percentage points. NBC News, "NBC/WSJ poll: Biden, Warren top 2020 Democratic field," 11 July 2019 Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average expected total deliveries of 90,680. Tim Higgins, WSJ, "Tesla Deliveries Reach Record Quarter After Questions About Demand," 2 July 2019 About 44% of those surveyed stayed in a hotel during their time in the city. Jennifer Larino,, "New Orleans hosted 11.6 million visitors in 2018, UNO report says," 28 June 2019 More than half of those surveyed reported having to cut spending on both essential and non-essential items to keep a roof over their heads. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "As home sales flatten, affordability remains key issue for new housing construction," 28 June 2019 Seven analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $34.53 billion., "Walgreens beats third-quarter earnings forecasts," 27 June 2019 The average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for $4.81 per share. CBS News, "FedEx warns of headwinds in coming year, posts $2 billion loss," 26 June 2019 According to the poll: 49% of those surveyed outright support Biden, who was President Barack Obama's vice president, with 3% leaning toward supporting him, compared with 37% who support Trump and 4% who lean toward supporting the president. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Donald Trump trails Joe Biden by double digits in new statewide Michigan poll," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Please take a few minutes to point us in the right direction by filling out the brief survey below, or following the link here: Chuck Yarborough,, "Calling All Readers: Tell me how you learn about good music and how can we help – Chuck Yarborough," 3 July 2019 The surveys were conducted from April 2014 to June 2015. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "The secondhand harms of drinking impact 1 in 5 adults, study says," 1 July 2019 The central bank’s summer survey of businesses was conducted between May 7 and June 3. Kim Mackrael, WSJ, "Bank of Canada Finds Improved Business Sentiment," 28 June 2019 The survey was conducted June 7 to June 11 on behalf of Rebuild 850, a coalition of groups dedicated to rebuilding the Panhandle. USA TODAY, "Troll trail, coal train derailment, geyser record: News from around our 50 states," 27 June 2019 This CBS News survey is conducted by YouGov between May 31 - June 12, 2019. CBS News, "CBS News Eye on Trends: The latest from the CBS News Election & Survey Unit," 26 June 2019 The poll, a telephone survey of 503 Massachusetts voters, was conducted from May 22 through May 29 by Beacon Research. Katie Lannan,, "Voters back moratorium on face recognition surveillance in Mass.," 18 June 2019 While the survey was conducted between January and April, news of Jumia’s IPO first surfaced last September and was confirmed in March. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "African brands are losing their appeal across the continent in favor of global players," 12 June 2019 The survey of 1,500 adult citizens was conducted online June 9-11. Charlotte Alter, Time, "Nearly 40% of Americans Think Presidents in Their 70s Are Too Old," 12 June 2019

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

20 Jul 2019

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 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

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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

Comments on survey

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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