espionage

noun
es·​pi·​o·​nage | \ ˈe-spē-ə-ˌnäzh How to pronounce espionage (audio) , -ˌnäj, -nij, Canadian also -ˌnazh; ˌe-spē-ə-ˈnäzh; i-ˈspē-ə-nij How to pronounce espionage (audio) \

Definition of espionage

: the practice of spying or using spies to obtain information about the plans and activities especially of a foreign government or a competing company industrial espionage

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Synonyms for espionage

Synonyms

spying

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Examples of espionage in a Sentence

He was charged with several counts of espionage. the acts of espionage on behalf of the Confederacy carried on by Belle Boyd and Rose Greenhow

Recent Examples on the Web

During the Cold War there were allegations that the Soviet Union was dabbling in psychic research as a means of espionage or warfare, but there is no evidence any of the research actually uncovered anything useful. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Journal Claims Russian Troops Have Psychic Powers," 4 Apr. 2019 China denies the claims, which if confirmed would amount to the largest espionage operation in history. The Economist, "Xi’s world order: July 2024," 7 July 2018 Rather, the use of an asset is standard practice in counterintelligence operations -- in this case it was likely intended to gather information from campaign advisers who may have been the targets of a Russian espionage operation. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump's norm-breaking is leading to a constitutional fight," 22 May 2018 Still, espionage dramas have long been monopolized by men both on-screen and off. Jill Gutowitz, Glamour, "Killing Eve Is Made for Women By Women, and It Shows," 8 Apr. 2019 Both were likewise detained on suspicion of endangering China’s national security, a sweeping allegation frequently used against Chinese dissidents and often applied to espionage cases. Josh Chin, WSJ, "China Says Australian Writer Is Being Held for Threatening State Security," 24 Jan. 2019 For years, rumors flew across the country that some of these citizens had been abducted by North Korean agents as part of a broader espionage campaign out of Pyongyang. NBC News, "Japanese citizens simply vanished. North Korea had abducted them. But why?," 11 June 2018 And this past spring, via BBC America, came Killing Eve, a mordantly funny espionage thriller for which Waller-Bridge served as head writer and showrunner. David Kamp, WSJ, "Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a Powerhouse on the Rise," 5 Nov. 2018 Notable differences include the use of Cobalt Strike rather than custom malware; however, many espionage actors do use publicly and commercially available frameworks for reasons such as plausible deniability. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Russia’s Cozy Bear comes out of hiding with post-election spear-phishing blitz," 20 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'espionage.' 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 espionage

1793, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for espionage

French espionnage, from Middle French, from espionner to spy, from espion spy, from Old Italian spione, from spia, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German spehōn to spy — more at spy

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Statistics for espionage

Last Updated

12 May 2019

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Time Traveler for espionage

The first known use of espionage was in 1793

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More Definitions for espionage

espionage

noun

English Language Learners Definition of espionage

: the things that are done to find out secrets from enemies or competitors : the activity of spying

espionage

noun
es·​pi·​o·​nage | \ ˈe-spē-ə-ˌnäzh How to pronounce espionage (audio) \

Kids Definition of espionage

: the practice of spying : the use of spies

espionage

noun
es·​pi·​o·​nage | \ ˈes-pē-ə-ˌnäzh, -ˌnäj, -nij How to pronounce espionage (audio) \

Legal Definition of espionage

: the practice of gathering, transmitting, or losing through gross negligence information relating to the defense of the U.S. with the intent that or with reason to believe that the information will be used to the injury of the U.S. or the advantage of a foreign nation

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using a distributed computer network

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