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



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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

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 Tom Burt, corporate vice president for customer security and trust at Microsoft, noted at the panel today that the company had tracked attempts to use fake Microsoft domains for espionage activities in 2016. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Microsoft says hackers already targeted three 2018 midterm candidates," 19 July 2018 Part espionage tale, part coming of age/coming out novel, Knecht's narrative requires a lot of setup, which gives the first half of her story a cumbersome stop-and-start rhythm. Maureen Corrigan,, "Forget about 007. This heroine has her own brand of spycraft.," 21 June 2018 Why isn’t this more like John Buchan’s espionage novel, or at least like Alfred Hitchcock’s fairly respectful film version? Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "REVIEW: This critic has an admission to make about ‘The 39 Steps’ at Actor’s Theatre," 7 June 2018 Rastvorov — a major espionage asset who revealed important information about the KGB and the Soviet government —defected in Tokyo and was taken to a CIA safe house in Potomac, Maryland, where agents interrogated him for hours every day for months. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "In memoriam through June 1: ‘Pong’ game creator, political prankster who got Nixon," 1 June 2018 But they were later accused of setting up a studio for RFA and charged with espionage. Sopheng Cheang, The Seattle Times, "2 Cambodian reporters charged with spying released on bail," 21 Aug. 2018 In fact, China is the primary player in economic espionage and intellectual property theft cases, Rosenstein said. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "US and allies: New hacks mean China broke 2015 economic espionage pact," 20 Dec. 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

14 Apr 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



English Language Learners Definition of espionage

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


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


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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Comments on espionage

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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