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 According to Dennis, the Reaper can eavesdrop on the enemy from beyond their range of fire. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, 20 Sep. 2021 The spyware can then eavesdrop or steal data from your device. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 Birds and bats also eavesdrop when searching for mates and food. Max G. Levy, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 The waitress had no more excuses to linger and eavesdrop. Seija Rankin, EW.com, 20 Aug. 2021 Last August, Durham announced a plea deal with Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who admitted doctoring an email about Page as the FBI was renewing its applications to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Arkansas Online, 14 Aug. 2021 Epilepsy patients are often recruited for neuroscience research because their treatment can involve surgically implanted deep brain electrodes, which give scientists a unique opportunity to eavesdrop on the firing of individual neurons in real time. Grace Huckins, Wired, 11 June 2021 After pro days and tryouts were canceled in 2020, Zylstra stayed instate to train with Brandon and eavesdrop on his brother's virtual NFL meetings. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, 21 May 2021 As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute, Fraknoi also thinks our observatories may one day accidentally eavesdrop on an alien transmission. Adam Mann, Wired, 25 June 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near eavesdrop

eaves board



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Statistics for eavesdrop

Last Updated

2 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eavesdrop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eavesdrop. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for eavesdrop



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


intransitive verb
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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