eaves·​drop | \ ˈēvz-ˌdräp How to pronounce eavesdrop (audio) \
eavesdropped; eavesdropping; eavesdrops

Definition of eavesdrop

intransitive verb

: to listen secretly to what is said in private

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Other Words from eavesdrop

eavesdropper noun

Synonyms for eavesdrop


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Examples of eavesdrop in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The inspector general identified major errors and omissions in applications the FBI submitted to a secretive court for permission to eavesdrop on Page. Eric Tucker, Star Tribune, "How a probe of Trump-Russia ties turned into a GOP rally cry," 12 Oct. 2020 The cameras will provide the first glimpse of a parachute billowing open at Mars, with two microphones letting Earthlings eavesdrop for the first time. Marcia Dunn, The Denver Post, "Perseverance, NASA’s next Mars rover, is brawniest and brainiest one yet," 27 July 2020 Five out of six brands tested by researchers would have allowed hackers to track kids—and in some cases eavesdrop on them. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Kids' Smartwatches Are a Security Nightmare Despite Years of Warnings," 10 Sep. 2020 However, more digital assistants talking to each other could increase the risk of users unintentionally causing one of them to accidentally activate and eavesdrop on conversations. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Amazon’s A.I. voice project gets help from Facebook, Dolby, and Garmin," 9 Sep. 2020 Ten years ago, the group’s leader, James O’Keefe III pleaded guilty to criminal charges of entering federal property under false pretenses after posing a phone technician to enter and eavesdrop in a Congresswoman’s office. oregonlive, "Project Veritas sues to overturn Oregon law against secret recording," 25 Aug. 2020 Not in America, where the Chinese giant is banished over (unproven) fears that it could be used by spies in Beijing to eavesdrop on Americans. The Economist, "No more quarter America closes the last loophole in its hounding of Huawei," 18 Aug. 2020 Now, researchers have demonstrated a weakness that allows attackers with modest resources to eavesdrop on calls. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Hackers can eavesdrop on mobile calls with $7,000 worth of equipment," 13 Aug. 2020 Zebras, for instance, can eavesdrop on the emotions in other herbivore species’ calls to learn if predators are nearby. Virginia Morell, National Geographic, "Dogs understand praise the same way we do. Here's why that matters.," 6 Aug. 2020

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

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First Known Use of eavesdrop

1606, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for eavesdrop

probably back-formation from eavesdropper, literally, one standing under the drip from the eaves

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Time Traveler for eavesdrop

Time Traveler

The first known use of eavesdrop was in 1606

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Statistics for eavesdrop

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eavesdrop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eavesdrop. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for eavesdrop


How to pronounce eavesdrop (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eavesdrop

: to listen secretly to what other people are saying


eaves·​drop | \ ˈēvz-ˌdräp How to pronounce eavesdrop (audio) \
eavesdropped; eavesdropping

Kids Definition of eavesdrop

: to listen secretly to private conversation
eavesdropped; eavesdropping

Legal Definition of eavesdrop

: to listen secretly to what is being said in private without the consent of the speaker — compare bug, wiretap

Other Words from eavesdrop

eavesdropper noun

More from Merriam-Webster on eavesdrop

Nglish: Translation of eavesdrop for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eavesdrop for Arabic Speakers

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