1

spy

play
verb \ ˈspī \

Definition of spy

spied; spying
transitive verb
1 :to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes
2 :to catch sight of :see
3 :to search or look for intensively usually used with out
  • spy out places fit for vending … goods
  • —S. E. Morison
intransitive verb
1 :to observe or search for something :look
2 :to watch secretly as a spy

Examples of spy in a Sentence

  1. They were accused of spying for a foreign government.

  2. I spy a motel off in the distance, so let's spend the night there.

Recent Examples of spy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of spy

Middle English spien, from Anglo-French espier, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German spehōn to spy; akin to Latin specere to look, look at, Greek skeptesthai & skopein to watch, look at, consider


2

spy

noun

Definition of spy

plural spies
1 :one that spies:
a :one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information
b :a person employed by one nation to secretly convey classified information of strategic importance to another nation; also :a person who conveys the trade secrets of one company to another
2 :an act of spying

Examples of spy in a Sentence

  1. He was a spy for the CIA.

  2. My coworker is a spy for the boss.

Recent Examples of spy from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of spy

13th century

spy Synonyms



SPY Defined for English Language Learners

spy

play
verb

Definition of spy for English Language Learners

  • : to try secretly to get information about a country, organization, etc. : to act as a spy

  • : to see or notice (someone or something)


spy

noun

Definition of spy for English Language Learners

  • : a person who tries secretly to get information about a country or organization for another country or organization

  • : someone who secretly watches the movement or actions of other people


SPY Defined for Kids

1

spy

play
verb \ ˈspī \

Definition of spy for Students

spied; spying
1 :to watch secretly
  • Agents spied on the enemy.
2 :to catch sight of :see
  • He circled the city once, looking for a music store. Suddenly he spied one.
  • —E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan

2

spy

noun

Definition of spy for Students

plural spies
1 :a person who watches the movement or actions of others especially in secret
2 :a person who tries secretly to get information especially about a country or organization for another country or organization


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