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[oh-ver-see-er, -seer] /ˈoʊ vərˌsi ər, -ˌsɪər/
a person who oversees; supervisor; manager:
the overseer of a plantation.
Origin of overseer
1350-1400; Middle English; see oversee, -er1
Related forms
suboverseer, noun
chief, head, boss, director. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for overseer
Historical Examples
  • The overseer cast a fierce but embarrassed look at the Creole.

  • The overseer of this one had written him to come and teach there, at a better salary.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • Butty, a word used in the mining districts to denote a kind of overseer.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • As overseer of the poor in this town I can't allow it, Captain Mayo!

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • Even Mrs. Magwire, the overseer's wife, with whom she lived, had forgotten to hurry or to scold her.

  • Paul left us some time ago to be overseer on a German plantation.

    The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson Nellie van De Grift Sanchez
  • But his selection as overseer of the work-rooms was another instance of Tapp's want of judgment.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • Of course, the overseer was not at all elated with the sentiment contained in Jack's toast.

    Clotelle William Wells Brown
  • Hearing the voice of the overseer without, he suspended his work, and listening attentively, became a party to their councils.

    Fifty Years in Chains Charles Ball
  • He saw one woman whose eye had been knocked59 out by an overseer.

    The Hindered Hand Sutton E. Griggs
British Dictionary definitions for overseer


Also called (less commonly) overlooker. a person who oversees others, esp workmen
(Brit, history) short for overseer of the poor; a minor official of a parish attached to the workhouse or poorhouse
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 overseer

late 14c., agent noun from oversee (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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