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Surveillance

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Surveillance

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm

• surveillance •


Pronunciation: sêr-vay-lêns • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: 1. The act of observing or watching. 2. Secretive observation of a person or group, especially one suspected of wrong-doing.

Notes: Surveillance offers ample opportunity for misspelling. First of all the initial sur is pronounced exactly the same as ser in service and the word sir. The next syllable, veil is pronounced the same as vale and has a double L. So be careful. This noun is based on an adjective, surveillant "watchful, exercising surveillance", as a surveillant prison guard.

In Play: Surveillance is not only justified by suspected wrong-doing, but also for protection: "Natalie Cladd was allowed to go out only under the surveillance of her parents or nanny." And wrong-doing casts a much broader semantic net than criminal activity: "Surveillance cameras had caught her kissing Chris Cross in front of the Bijou Theater on numerous occasions."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on another French borrowing, the verb survey. This verb originally meant simply "to observe", as to survey the horizon for ships. However, the usage of this verb narrowed to "measure a parcel of land", while its noun tightened its sense to that above. So, we needed a verb meaning to "observe secretly a person or group suspected of wrong-doing", and presto! to surveil popped up. This new verb was 'back-formed' from surveillance, that is, the suffix -ance was removed to reveal what appeared to be a verb beneath it. Today's word comes from the French verb surveiller, comprising sur "over" + veiller "to watch". Veiller had been Latin vigilare "to watch" in ancient Rome. This verb was based on another word English borrowed, vigil. (Jeremy Busch's surveillance of the words in the material he reads has provided us with another very Good Word.)
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Re: Surveillance

Postby MTC » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:19 am

2. Secretive observation of a person or group, especially one suspected of wrong-doing.

Like suspected terrorists, sundry foreign governments, and the American public, for instance?
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Re: Surveillance

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:31 pm

To say nothing of "drones".
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Re: Surveillance

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:47 pm

There are "good" drones and "bad" drones. One of my major projects when I was a systems engineer was developing and installing intelligence equipment on drones. These drones were much too small to carry weapons. Even though I worked on military systems for most of my life, they were all for surveillance. I started on a defensive weapons program once but it involved acoustics and acoustics don’t lend themselves well to observation, so the program was dropped.

Land surveying when I was young was little different from the way George Washington did it. My dad and I both surveyed land. Later I worked on the first GPS. Now land surveying is a piece of cake.

As for satellite photographic surveillance, don’t sunbathe in your all together if you don’t want to be seen.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
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Re: Surveillance

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:49 am

Now you're ruining all my fun.
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