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[oh-ver-see] /ˌoʊ vərˈsi/
verb (used with object), oversaw, overseen, overseeing.
to direct (work or workers); supervise; manage:
He was hired to oversee the construction crews.
to see or observe secretly or unintentionally:
We happened to oversee the burglar leaving the premises. He was overseen stealing the letters.
to survey or watch, as from a higher position.
to look over; examine; inspect.
Origin of oversee
before 900; Middle English overseen, Old English ofersēon. See over-, see1
Can be confused
overlook, oversee, oversight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for oversee
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My medicines cured one of a flux, and I go into Simla to oversee his recovery.

    Kim Rudyard Kipling
  • He used to oversee my place on the lake, and did it capitally, too.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Spurr from Col. Hitchcock's regt is to oversee fatigue parties employed on Fortifications.

  • So long as they rest on them, or oversee them, to the dead they belong.

  • In order to oversee the work I should have to make short trips there from time to time.

    Unleavened Bread Robert Grant
British Dictionary definitions for oversee


verb (transitive) -sees, -seeing, -saw, -seen
to watch over and direct; supervise
to watch secretly or accidentally
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oversee

Old English oferseon "to look down upon, keep watch over, survey, observe;" see over + see (v.). Meaning "to supervise" is attested from mid-15c. The verb lacks the double sense of similar overlook, but this emerges in the noun form oversight. Related: Oversaw; overseen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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