coun·​ter·​es·​pi·​o·​nage | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈe-spē-ə-ˌnäzh How to pronounce counterespionage (audio) , -ˌnäj, -nij, Canadian also -ˌnazh; -ˌe-spē-ə-ˈnäzh; -ə-ˈspē-ə-nij\

Definition of counterespionage

: the activity concerned with detecting and thwarting enemy espionage

Examples of counterespionage in a Sentence

He was involved in counterespionage against Germany in World War II.

Recent Examples on the Web

Diplomatic ties with China, which buys around a quarter of Australia’s exports, soured this year after Mr. Turnbull tightened counterespionage laws amid concerns that Beijing had interfered in the country’s politics. David Winning, WSJ, "A Battle for the Soul of Conservatism Plays Out in Australia," 24 Aug. 2018 Strzok has served in the FBI for more than two decades, and eventually became the lead agent on the bureau’s counterespionage team. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "The FBI just fired Peter Strzok," 13 Aug. 2018 Shirley Mercier, 86, a CIA officer for 30 years who specialized in counterintelligence and counterespionage in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, died Nov. 14 at a care center in Orange, Conn. Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 22 Jan. 2018 The counterespionage operation was directed by the Shin Bet and carried out with the cooperation of the Mossad, which is Israel’s national intelligence agency, and Israel’s military intelligence. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "Israel Charges a Former Minister With Spying for Iran," 18 June 2018 Nobody who has done counterespionage work would think this is a case that’s been prosecute – would be prosecuted, ever. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "The Biggest Revelations From James Comey’s ABC Interview," 16 Apr. 2018 Mandigo, who served 29 years in the FBI until his retirement in 2003, said the bureau has remained fiercely protective of its role in counterespionage, as there aren’t other law-enforcement agencies assigned to the task. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Russian spies in Seattle: Black ops, Soviet subs and counter intel in the Pacific Northwest," 28 Mar. 2018 Her areas of concentration were foreign counterintelligence, counterespionage and terrorism. Courant Community, "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 27 Mar. 2018 But in 1996, he was given a chance to redeem himself as part of a joint CIA-FBI counterespionage operation. Drew Kann, CNN, "How a CIA traitor turned his son into a Russian spy," 28 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterespionage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of counterespionage

1899, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about counterespionage

Statistics for counterespionage

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for counterespionage

The first known use of counterespionage was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for counterespionage



English Language Learners Definition of counterespionage

formal : the activity of preventing or stopping enemies from spying

More from Merriam-Webster on counterespionage Encyclopedia article about counterespionage

Comments on counterespionage

What made you want to look up counterespionage? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


likely to have or produce good results

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!