surveillance Definition

  • 1the act of carefully watching a person suspected of a crime or a place where a crime may be committed
  • 2the monitoring of behavior, activities, or information for the purpose of gathering intelligence, detecting or preventing crime, or enforcing laws

Using surveillance: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "surveillance" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The police have put the house under surveillance.

  • Example

    The company uses surveillance cameras to monitor employee activity.

  • Example

    The government has been accused of conducting illegal surveillance on its citizens.

surveillance Synonyms and Antonyms

Antonyms for surveillance

Phrases with surveillance

  • intense and thorough monitoring of a person or place


    The suspect was placed under close surveillance by the police.

  • the monitoring of a large group of people, often without their knowledge or consent


    The government's mass surveillance program has raised concerns about privacy violations.

  • 24-hour surveillance

    continuous monitoring over a 24-hour period


    The high-security facility is under 24-hour surveillance to prevent any escape attempts.

Origins of surveillance

from French 'sur-' meaning 'over' + 'veiller' meaning 'watch'


Summary: surveillance in Brief

Surveillance [sərˈveɪləns] refers to the act of carefully watching a person or place suspected of a crime, or monitoring behavior, activities, or information for intelligence gathering, crime detection or prevention, or law enforcement. Examples include the police putting a house under surveillance and companies using surveillance cameras to monitor employees. Phrases like 'close surveillance' and 'mass surveillance' denote intense and large-scale monitoring, respectively.

How do native speakers use this expression?