1802, from Fr. surveillance "oversight, supervision, a watch," noun of action from surveiller "oversee, watch," from sur- "over" + veiller "to watch," from L. vigilare, from vigil "watchful" (see vigil). Seemingly a word of the Terror in France. A hideous back-formation, surveille (v.), was coined in 1960 in U.S. government jargon. Pray that it dies.
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A very hot word these days. I also like the write-up from etymonline.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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