eavesdrop

verb

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

intransitive verb

: to listen secretly to what is said in private
eavesdropper noun

Examples of eavesdrop in a Sentence

a nosy traveler who likes to eavesdrop on his fellow airline passengers
Recent Examples on the Web Paul herself quickly becomes an object of fascination for many of the students, and the stakes are raised when one of them offers Paul the use of her room to eavesdrop on conversations between the undergraduates. The New Yorker, 12 June 2024 The Houston man who pled guilty to insider trading after eavesdropping on his BP executive ex-wife was sentenced to two years in prison. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 22 May 2024 Authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the 702 program permits the government to enlist American companies to eavesdrop on a variety of communications—calls, texts, emails, and possibly other forms of messaging—all without the need for a search warrant. Dell Cameron and William Turton, WIRED, 8 May 2024 Attack boats like the Hampton might collect intelligence on enemy warships or eavesdrop on unfriendly governments, while much larger ballistic missile submarines stay submerged for 90 days at a time, carrying enough nuclear warheads to destroy entire countries. Kenny Holston, New York Times, 30 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for eavesdrop 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'eavesdrop.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of eavesdrop was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near eavesdrop

Cite this Entry

“Eavesdrop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eavesdrop. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

eavesdrop

verb
eaves·​drop ˈēvz-ˌdräp How to pronounce eavesdrop (audio)
: to listen secretly to private conversation
eavesdropper noun

Legal Definition

eavesdrop

intransitive verb
eaves·​drop
eavesdropped; eavesdropping
: to listen secretly to what is being said in private without the consent of the speaker compare bug, wiretap
eavesdropper noun

More from Merriam-Webster on eavesdrop

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