eavesdrop

verb
eaves·​drop | \ˈēvz-ˌdräp \
eavesdropped; eavesdropping; eavesdrops

Definition of eavesdrop 

intransitive verb

: to listen secretly to what is said in private

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from eavesdrop

eavesdropper noun

Examples of eavesdrop in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Chinese and Russian spies routinely eavesdrop on personal phone calls President Trump makes on his iPhones, one of which is no different from the smartphone millions of other people use. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "NYT: Chinese and Russian spies routinely eavesdrop on Trump’s iPhone calls," 25 Oct. 2018 Now, some of those same Republicans are pushing to make public a classified memo about some of the most sensitive secrets in the government: how the FBI eavesdrops on suspects in national security investigations. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, "House to vote on releasing classified Nunes memo about FBI eavesdropping," 29 Jan. 2018 By eavesdropping on the calls of blue whales, researchers hope to get a more accurate picture of the massive mammals' distribution and abundance. Christopher Intagliata reports. Christopher Intagliata, Scientific American, "Undersea Recordings Reveal a Whale's Tale," 19 Feb. 2018 Audience members sit behind the invisible fourth wall, eavesdropping on dramas about what humans are capable, or incapable, of. Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "With “Fairview,” Jackie Sibblies Drury Breaks the Fourth Wall," 24 June 2018 Vera, posing as a foreign student at the university, deploys an array of listening devices to eavesdrop on her fellow students, particularly those suspected of Communist sympathies. Maureen Corrigan, chicagotribune.com, "Forget about 007. This heroine has her own brand of spycraft.," 21 June 2018 Turn down the volume on your headphones to eavesdrop on convos. Jelani Addams Rosa, Seventeen, "19 Gross AF Secret Things Every Girl Does But Will Never Admit," 13 June 2018 Among the master classes on which the public can eavesdrop are ones by Benita Valente, Angela Meade, and Florence Quivar. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Classical concerts: 'Star Wars' at the Mann, Curtis Summerfest, 'Fred' the organ at Kimmel, more," 6 June 2018 No matter how many times Facebook denies it and media outlets like this one write articles debunking it, people keep getting freaked out that the social media giant is eavesdropping on their conversations. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Facebook has 'no plans' to listen in on your conversations (for now), but the creepy stories mount," 23 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about eavesdrop

Statistics for eavesdrop

Last Updated

23 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for eavesdrop

The first known use of eavesdrop was in 1606

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for eavesdrop

eavesdrop

verb

English Language Learners Definition of eavesdrop

: to listen secretly to what other people are saying

eavesdrop

verb
eaves·​drop | \ˈēvz-ˌdräp \
eavesdropped; eavesdropping

Kids Definition of eavesdrop

: to listen secretly to private conversation

eavesdrop

intransitive verb
eaves·​drop
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on eavesdrop

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with eavesdrop

Spanish Central: Translation of eavesdrop

Nglish: Translation of eavesdrop for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eavesdrop for Arabic Speakers

Comments on eavesdrop

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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