c. 1400, "to consider, contemplate," from Anglo-French surveier, Old French sorveoir "look (down) at, look upon, notice; guard, watch," from Medieval Latin supervidere "oversee, inspect," from Latin super "over" (see super-) + videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). Meaning "examine the condition of" is from mid-15c. That of "to take linear measurements of a tract of ground" is recorded from 1540s. Related: Surveyed; surveying; surveyance (late 14c.).