eaves·​drop·​ping ˈēvz-ˌdrä-piŋ How to pronounce eavesdropping (audio)
: the act of secretly listening to something private
Highly sophisticated means of electronic eavesdropping were developed and put into use, largely uncontrolled by the law.Wayne R. LaFave & Jerold H. Israel
For a moment, I was worried he'd found out about my eavesdropping the night before, but that didn't seem to be the problem.Rick Riordan

Examples of eavesdropping in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mounted atop the rocket was a classified satellite provided by the National Reconnaissance Office, the secretive government agency that manages the nation's fleet of sophisticated optical and radar imaging reconnaissance satellites and electronic eavesdropping stations. William Harwood, CBS News, 9 Apr. 2024 Nicole Holofcener is well acquainted with the dangers of eavesdropping. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 26 May 2023 While the eavesdropping on this particular holiday is unmatched, every vaguely romantic restaurant is packed, and often the only option is to order from an expensive prix-fixe menu prepared by staff who would rather be anywhere else. Anne Loreto Cruz, Bon Appétit, 1 Feb. 2024 How to use eavesdropping to your advantage In a typical open-plan office, overhearing your coworkers can be more of an annoyance than a rush. Jane Thier, Fortune, 11 July 2023 The Los Angeles Police Department’s investigation into last year’s incendiary audio leak focuses on two former Los Angeles County Federation of Labor employees who now face potential felony eavesdropping charges. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, 14 Oct. 2023 The Soviets for years operated an eavesdropping facility at Lourdes near Havana. José De Córdoba, WSJ, 9 June 2023 Then, this week, it was disclosed in court that the secret eavesdropping program had been declassified. Carol Rosenberg, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2023 Khaled takes my eavesdropping as an opportunity to tell me more about his new interests. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 7 Nov. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of eavesdropping was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near eavesdropping

Cite this Entry

“Eavesdropping.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eavesdropping. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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