Oversee vs Surveil - What's the difference?

oversee | surveil |

As verbs the difference between oversee and surveil

is that oversee is (literally) to survey, look at something in a wide angle while surveil is (nonstandard) to keep someone or something under surveillance.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




  • (literally) To survey, look at something in a wide angle.
  • (figuratively) To supervise, guide, review or direct the actions of a person or group.
  • It is congress's duty to oversee the spending of federal funds.
  • To inspect, examine
  • Gamekeepers oversee a hunting ground to see to the wildlife's welfare and look for poachers.
  • (obsolete) To fail to see; to overlook, ignore.
  • * , II.ix:
  • Thereat the Elfe did blush in priuitee, / And turnd his face away; but she the same / Dissembled faire, and faynd to ouersee .
  • To observe secretly or unintentionally.
  • Derived terms

    * overseer * oversight

    See also

    * overlook * overwatch




  • (nonstandard) To keep someone or something under surveillance.
  • :The plaintiff also stresses that the store as a whole, and the customer exits especially, were closely surveilled .
  • ::Alexandre of London v. Indem. Ins. Co., 182 F. Supp. 748, 750 (United States District Court for the District of Columbia) (1960), cited in Bryan A. Garner. A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (2nd ed., 2001) p. 861