noun \ˈes-pē-ə-ˌnäzh, -ˌnäj, -nij, Canada also -ˌnazh; ˌes-pē-ə-ˈnäzh; is-ˈpē-ə-nij\

: the things that are done to find out secrets from enemies or competitors : the activity of spying

Full Definition of ESPIONAGE

:  the practice of spying or using spies to obtain information about the plans and activities especially of a foreign government or a competing company <industrial espionage>

Examples of ESPIONAGE

  1. He was charged with several counts of espionage.
  2. <the acts of espionage on behalf of the Confederacy carried on by Belle Boyd and Rose Greenhow>


French espionnage, from Middle French, from espionner to spy, from espion spy, from Old Italian spione, from spia, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German spehōn to spy — more at spy
First Known Use: 1793

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Practice of obtaining military, political, commercial, or other secret information by means of spies or illegal monitoring devices. It is sometimes distinguished from the broader category of intelligence gathering by its aggressive nature and its illegality. Counterespionage efforts are directed at detecting and thwarting espionage by others.


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