Definition of supervise in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Observe and direct the execution of (a task, project, or activity)

    ‘the sergeant left to supervise the loading of the trucks’
    • ‘The rookies are being put through a gas-attack drill, in which they must calmly put on their protective masks, after one of the supervising officers has hurled a canister in through one of the Portakabin windows.’
    • ‘Though he complains of the mess he spends days happily supervising the work; ‘I cannot but be with the workmen to see things done to my mind.’’
    • ‘Its objective is to win hearts and minds not to supervise the activities that need to be carried out to make the changes effective.’
    • ‘Make sure they know how to handle art, and supervise the work so nothing gets damaged, he also suggested.’
    • ‘His autobiographies, which list hundreds of monuments as his own works, embody a collaborative notion of authorship with only the most significant imperial projects fully supervised by him.’
    • ‘He said even the special purpose vehicle which is responsible for the project implementation had already been put in place to oversee and supervise the actual project.’
    • ‘He spoke and wrote fluently in English, and either translated himself or supervised the translation of almost all the poems included in this book.’
    • ‘Although she did not perform the carving or printing herself, she wanted to have a basic understanding to supervise the process.’
    • ‘A master craftsman would supervise a large-scale project, with a strictly ranked team working under him.’
    • ‘He was later promoted to senior vice president supervising global growth and technology initiatives.’
    • ‘If it's that important, then I say go there and supervise the work yourself.’
    • ‘He served as the overall director, supervising the army of over 200 artists entrusted with realising the film in the frighteningly brief period of eleven months.’
    • ‘For instance, one rule states that a person who is educated overseas cannot operate or supervise a pharmacy that is less than three years old.’
    • ‘Two weeks ago, the Department of Defence, which is supervising the selection process, announced that it had eliminated two companies from the shortlist.’
    • ‘Our artists are directly involved in supervising the printing process.’
    • ‘When the era of the affordable computer hit, we dumped most of these services in favor of do-it-yourself solutions because it was cheaper and easier to supervise work done in-house.’
    • ‘A local board of three to five fathers organizes the school, hires a teacher, approves curriculum, oversees the budget, and supervises maintenance.’
    • ‘The authority will regulate and supervise the operations of non-banking financial institutions in the country.’
    • ‘That might mean working as a consultant while a hiring freeze is on, filling in for a military reservist called to duty, or supervising a short-term project.’
    • ‘But the biometric check is only useful if the process is sufficiently supervised to guard against spoofing or passport switching.’
    superintend, oversee, be in charge of, be in control of, preside over, direct, administer, manage, run, look after, be responsible for, govern, operate, conduct, organize, handle, guide, steer, pilot
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    1. 1.1 Observe and direct the work of (someone)
      ‘nurses were supervised by a consulting psychiatrist’
      • ‘As I supervise new students, explain myself to colleagues, examine more degrees for outside institutions, defend our discipline and plan strategies to advance it, I can see one thing clearly.’
      • ‘Of necessity they have been learning on the job, developing ad hoc methods of reading when little or no guidelines were supplied in the discipline's infancy, and extrapolating from what they have gleaned supervising their own students.’
      • ‘He points out some obvious arguments, it's the parents fault for not supervising their kids, his anecdotes are fictional, they are only words after all.’
      • ‘Will the company then be held liable for improperly supervising its employee on the property in question?’
      • ‘I supervised men and women, even though they were segregated within the shop.’
      • ‘Between 1513 and 1529 he was occupied as architect and sculptor on the shrine of the Holy House in Loreto, contributing marble narrative reliefs and supervising a team of younger sculptors.’
      • ‘But more often the causes were informational: it was too costly to monitor quality on the output side, and firms needed to observe and supervise workers in the plant itself.’
      • ‘Each candidate is supervised by a mentor as well as by a program leader in each division to facilitate a smooth assimilation into the company's culture.’
      • ‘A few years ago I was supervising a Masters student who was writing an autobiographical novel.’
      • ‘The shift to an increasingly mobile workforce means that many managers supervise employees they rarely see face-to-face.’
      • ‘The accountancy bodies will continue to supervise their members and firms.’
      • ‘He decides to censor it and to supervise the author, watching out for further subversiveness lest it become necessary to deport him to an island.’
      • ‘The other objective was to help auditors understand the art of imparting skills needed to supervise and oversee not just internal audit, but also to supervise audit teams and departments.’
      • ‘Extra personnel are taken on each year to supervise students with physical disabilities, hearing difficulties, visual impairments and dyslexia.’
      • ‘At daybreak he was [already] managing accounts and at the same time supervising the workers.’
      • ‘He supervises a staff of research analysts and portfolio managers for the Durham, North Carolina, firm.’
      • ‘‘Here, we supervise students and carry out research on the ecology, genetics and conservation of freshwater and marine molluscs in the rivers of the Amazon basin,’ he explains.’
      • ‘Nenni, who supervises us, has ordered us to pick fresh strawberries.’
      • ‘He supervises the kids as they dig up and dismantle these mines in order to sell them on the underground arms market for food and other necessaries.’
      • ‘He supervised a staff of 100 to build a single system to research and process the insurance that guarantees to lenders that your property is free of liens and claims.’
      answerable, accountable
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    2. 1.2 Keep watch over (someone) in the interest of their or others' security.
      ‘prisoners were supervised by two officers’
      • ‘The families said if he had employed three more security staff to supervise exit doors on the night of the fire, it would have cost him £50 more in wages or about £1 for each life lost.’
      • ‘First, the more compact spatial organization of the house reduces staff time spent on supervising and escorting prisoners.’
      • ‘There are now-classic images of field labor gangs supervised by mounted guards.’
      watch, oversee, keep an eye on, observe, monitor, inspect, be responsible for, guide, mind
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Late 15th century (in the sense ‘survey, peruse’): from medieval Latin supervis- ‘surveyed, supervised’, from supervidere, from super- ‘over’ + videre ‘to see’.