Etymology
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surveillance (n.)

1802, from French surveillance "oversight, supervision, a watch," noun of action from surveiller "oversee, watch" (17c.), from sur- "over" (see sur- (1)) + veiller "to watch," from Latin vigilare, from vigil "watchful" (from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, be lively"). Seemingly a word that came to English from the Terror in France ("surveillance committees" were formed in every French municipality in March 1793 by order of the Convention to monitor the actions and movements of suspect persons, outsiders, and dissidents).

updated on June 03, 2017

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Definitions of surveillance from WordNet

surveillance (n.)
close observation of a person or group (usually by the police);
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.