sur·vey (sər-vā, sûrvā′)
v. sur·veyed, sur·vey·ing, sur·veys
a. To look over the parts, features, or contents of; view broadly: surveyed the neighborhood from a rooftop; surveyed the shelves in the pantry.
b. To look at or examine carefully and appraise: surveyed the storm damage. See Synonyms at see1.
2. To determine the boundaries, area, or elevations of (land or structures on the earth's surface) by means of measuring angles and distances, using the techniques of geometry and trigonometry.
3. Chiefly British To inspect and determine the structural condition of (a building).
4. To conduct a statistical survey on: surveyed the students for music preferences.
To make a survey.
n. (sûrvā′)pl. sur·veys
a. A general or comprehensive view: a survey of the battlefield.
b. A careful inspection or appraisal: doing a survey of the literature on the subject.
2. A gathering of a sample of data or opinions considered to be representative of a whole.
a. The act or process of surveying a part of the earth's surface.
b. A map of what has been surveyed.
c. An administrative agency charged with the responsibility of surveying: the US Geological Survey.
4. A document reporting the results of a survey.
[Middle English surveien, from Old French surveeir, from Medieval Latin supervidēre : Latin super-, super- + Latin vidēre, to look; see weid- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.