Definition of survey in English:

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Pronunciation: /sərˈvā/
[with object]
1(Of a person or their eyes) look carefully and thoroughly at (someone or something), especially so as to appraise them: her green eyes surveyed him coolly I surveyed the options
More example sentences
  • Something in the two larger puppies caught his eye and he picked one of them up, surveying it closely.
  • His eyes were worried as he helped her stand up, surveying her closely for injury.
  • She surveyed me closely through her fine spectacles.
look at, look over, observe, view, contemplate, regard, gaze at, stare at, eye;
scrutinize, examine, inspect, scan, study, consider, review, take stock of
informal size up
literary behold
1.1Investigate the opinions or experience of (a group of people) by asking them questions: 95% of patients surveyed were satisfied with the health service
More example sentences
  • Both groups were surveyed at baseline (prior to starting their S-L experience) and at the completion of their experience.
  • The IAS study showed that 56 percent of the organizations surveyed experienced failed international assignments.
  • The 66 physicians who were surveyed had referred patients to the study.
1.2Investigate (behavior or opinions) by questioning a group of people: the investigator surveyed the attitudes and beliefs held by residents
More example sentences
  • A new poll surveying religious opinions across different countries has some interesting results.
  • The poll surveyed the opinions of 3,667 people, aged 18 years and older.
  • In 2000 it surveyed opinion using the identical question, resulting in support of 56 percent.
interview, question, canvass, poll, cross-examine, investigate, research, study, probe, sample
2Examine and record the area and features of (an area of land) so as to construct a map, plan, or description: he surveyed the coasts of New Zealand
More example sentences
  • In Taiwan, there are four areas which will be surveyed and examined this year by the WHO.
  • This equates to surveying an area the size of Plymouth while being able to pick out isolated features the size of a dustbin.
  • More than 750 miles of the southern part of the West Coast route has to be surveyed to record design positions.


Pronunciation: /ˈsərˌvā/
1A general view, examination, or description of someone or something: the author provides a survey of the relevant literature
More example sentences
  • There are good case studies and general surveys of terrorists and terrorist organizations, but few that try to determine whether more democracy leads to less terrorism.
  • This volume not only provides a comprehensive survey of recent work on existential meaning but is likely to have a broader appeal as well.
  • The former is a comprehensive view or survey and the latter refers to places where two forms of a language are spoken.
study, review, consideration, overview;
scrutiny, examination, inspection, appraisal
1.1An investigation of the opinions or experience of a group of people, based on a series of questions.
Example sentences
  • No steps were initiated to conduct surveys, investigations and research to identify the cause for occurrence of various types of disabilities with a view to their prevention and early detection.
  • Government figures on poverty are based on sample surveys conducted at discrete points of time.
  • Stations were also encouraged to install secure fencing, better lighting and clearer signs, and to conduct opinion surveys among passengers.
poll, review, investigation, inquiry, study, probe, questionnaire, census, research
2An act of surveying an area of land: the flight involved a detailed aerial survey of military bases
More example sentences
  • Not only was Hutton teaching and writing textbooks, but he also undertook a land survey of the area around Newcastle for the mayor and corporation of the city.
  • Since the aerial surveys occurred in different areas and at different times of the year, it was impossible to compare their results directly.
  • What is more, they counted all of those 100 sheep in an area where the aerial survey had found no sheep at all.
2.1A map, plan, or detailed description obtained by a survey.
Example sentences
  • Other surveys were recently on view at the Fine Art Society in London and the National Museum, Cardiff, Wales.
2.2A department carrying out the surveying of land: the U.S. Geological Survey


Late Middle English (in the sense 'examine and ascertain the condition of'): from Anglo-Norman French surveier, from medieval Latin supervidere, from super- 'over' + videre 'to see'. The early sense of the noun (late 15th century) was 'supervision'.

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Syllabification: sur·vey

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