: to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes
: to search or look for intensively —usually used with out
spy out places fit for vending … goods—S. E. Morison
: to watch secretly as a spy
: one that spies:
: one who keeps secret watch on a person or thing to obtain information
: 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
: an act of spying
Verb They were accused of spying for a foreign government. I spy a motel off in the distance, so let's spend the night there. Noun He was a spy for the CIA. My coworker is a spy for the boss.
Recent Examples on the Web
VerbSoon after, Peterson spied a dark object on the ship’s starboard side. —Longreads, 4 May 2023 Dozens of journalists crowded together to catch a glimpse of the Wall Street Journal reporter, who is the first U.S. correspondent since the Cold War to be detained in Russia on spying allegations. —Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 18 Apr. 2023 In recent months, Republicans have joined arms with civil liberties advocates in pushing to either let some FISA spying powers expire or significantly revamp how those powers work. —Tim Starks And Karen Deyoung, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Apr. 2023 The leak set off a firestorm in the Biden administration and intelligence community over details the documents laid bare over Russia's war in Ukraine, U.S. spying efforts on allies and more. —Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 16 Apr. 2023 In July another survey called the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS), led by Finkelstein, spied a possible galaxy at a redshift of 16.4, just 240 million years after the big bang. —Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, 13 Apr. 2023 Russia’s top security agency has arrested an American reporter for the Wall Street Journal on suspicion of espionage, the first time a U.S. correspondent has been put behind bars on spying accusations since the Cold War. —Elvia Limón, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2023 The bank's reputation has also been marred by a spying scandal in recent years, which ultimately led to the resignation of its former CEO and COO. —Michelle Toh, CNN, 16 Mar. 2023 As the novel opens, Mira spies a potentially rich new target. —Ron Charles, Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2023
NounSeason 14 will also introduce a new spy, Zara Khan, voiced by Natalie Dew. —Christian Holub, EW.com, 15 May 2023 Officials were stonewalling, hiding behind claims that refugees might include communists and spies. —Smithsonian Magazine, 15 May 2023 This is a series that embraces its main theme (family), its larger-than-life characters (Vin Diesel's Dom Torretto has essentially become an on-screen spy/racing/action deity), and utterly ridiculous action sequences for one goal and one goal only—to entertain audiences. —Evan Romano, Men's Health, 13 May 2023 Employees at foreign companies in China could be targeted as spies for normal business practices such as gathering information on competitors, markets and industry. —Lauren Hirsch, New York Times, 12 May 2023 Solar noon is an advantageous time for spy and other imaging satellites in sun-synchronous orbit, an orbital path that runs north-south over the North and South Poles. —Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 2 May 2023 After convincing him that Iran wasn't responsible, Kate receives intel from a Russian spy confirming that Roman Lenkov, the leader of a Russian mercenary group, was hired to carry out the attack. —Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Apr. 2023 It is not owned by the Chinese government, which has become a potent rallying cry for the GOP thanks in part to its spy balloons and saber-rattling toward self-governing Taiwan. —Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2023 The first chapter of Citadel’s global takeover—or so Amazon Prime Video desperately hopes—is here, with the rollout of the first season of the spy thriller starring Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. —Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 28 Apr. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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