A spokesperson for Victoria police said: “We are aware that Ms C*** has asked the UN human rights committee to investigate the matter further. If they choose to do so, then we will of course co-operate and provide all appropriate assistance.
“The investigation of this sad event was conducted by the homicide squad on behalf of and at the direction of the coroner. That investigation was oversighted by the Victoria police ethical standards department and was reviewed by the Office of Police Integrity, the organisation charged with oversighting Victoria police. The death and investigation was the subject of an open and transparent coronial inquest.”

Is it proper, or commonly accepted, to use "oversighting" and "oversighted" in spoken English like the spokesperson does in the above reported speech?

2 Answers 2


It's a non-standard usage - I would say wrong, but feasibly it's more acceptable to Australians than to me.

The normal verb here is oversee, defined by OED as to act as overseer or supervisor; to assume an official position of authority or responsibility.

The only OED definition for oversight as a verb (which it says is "rare") is to make a mistake through negligence or omission. Which clearly isn't what the spokesman meant.

  • It sounds like typical bureaucrat-speak to me. Oversee(n) would be the correct standard English (in any country's flavor).
    – Phil Perry
    Mar 3, 2014 at 15:37
  • @Phil: Verbification of nouns is a well-established practice in English in general, but taking it to excess is a typical feature of "less-than-fully-articulate" people in the business world, trying to sound more "impressive/formal". Mar 3, 2014 at 16:45

The correct verb is oversee, and the appropriate forms are overseen (for "oversighted"), and overseeing for "oversighting."

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