wiretap

verb
wire·tap | \ˈwī(-ə)r-ˌtap \
wiretapped; wiretapping; wiretaps

Definition of wiretap 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to tap a telephone or telegraph wire or cellular signal in order to get information

transitive verb

: to tap the telephone of

wiretap

noun

Definition of wiretap (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of wiretapping

2 : an electrical connection for wiretapping

Examples of wiretap in a Sentence

Verb

The FBI wiretapped his phone.

Noun

Federal agents put a wiretap on his phone. Investigators listened to the wiretaps for clues about the suspect's whereabouts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Specifically, Republican lawmakers have asserted that the FBI misused a secret surveillance court to get approval to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Justice inspector general opens probe of possible surveillance abuses in Russia election case," 28 Mar. 2018 The document offers a new timeline of wiretap orders in the case based on Dawkins' request for the recordings to be thrown out because an April 7 order to wiretap his phone was missing the name of the official who authorized it. Chris White, The Courier-Journal, "Were Rick Pitino's calls with an Adidas executive recorded?," 10 Mar. 2018 The investigation began when DEA agents bought heroin from one of the men in September 2017 and a federal judge gave the agency permission to wiretap the defendants, a statement from U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman said. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Feds: Butler County heroin ring was sending drug money to Mexico," 1 Feb. 2018 Some believe Trump’s Twitter account has jolted sensibilities so often — from ghastly attacks on cable talking heads Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to baseless accusations about Trump Tower wiretaps — that outlandish is the new reigning norm. Kyle Swenson, Washington Post, "Trump’s Hillary Clinton tweet: Does it violate Twitter’s rules on violence?," 18 Sep. 2017 In 2015, Macedonia’s conservative government was accused of using the national security services to wiretap up to 20,000 people for its own political gain. Sarah Wilson Sokhey, Washington Post, "This is why the West should pay attention to the drama in Macedonia," 29 May 2017 One of the recordings released after a fight with Congress and the courts revealed the president’s involvement in attempts to stymie an investigation into an attempt to wiretap the Democratic National Committee. Chris Strohm, Bloomberg.com, "White House Refuses to Say Whether Trump Tapes Conversations," 12 May 2017 There are transcripts of a conversation in at least one phone call, recorded by American intelligence agencies that wiretap foreign diplomats, which may determine Mr. Flynn’s future. David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt And Peter Baker, New York Times, "Turmoil at the National Security Council, From the Top Down," 12 Feb. 2017 Investigators from a Drug Enforcement Task Force began their probe of the organization using buys and wiretaps stemming back to October 2016, a criminal complaint filed by a DEA task force member read. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "Months-Long Drug Operation Nets 20 Kilos Heroin, Fentanyl Largely Packaged For Streets," 30 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Caren Morrison, a Georgia State University law professor and former prosecutor, said audio files could be the result of recordings made by informants, wiretaps, witness interviews or other means. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "Atlanta bribery evidence against Mitzi Bickers includes recordings," 10 July 2018 The officers were among 18 defendants indicted earlier this year after a year-long wiretap investigation by state agencies found widespread smuggling into the Jessup Correctional Institution. Jessica Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "10 plead guilty in prison smuggling scheme, authorities say," 12 July 2018 His supporters insist the man who spoke on that November 2008 wiretap doesn’t speak for the man courting the black vote today. Adeshina Emmanuel, Chicago Reader, "Race / Politics / News Pritzker the sneak disser might as well have said the N-word," 9 Feb. 2018 Roy Olmstead was a big-time Seattle bootlegger who was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Prohibition Act, in part on the basis of evidence gathered through government wiretaps. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?," 22 Sep. 2014 Investigators gathered information through surveillance, wiretaps, undercover drug buys and other ways, the affidavit said. Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Feds: Police Target Gang Members, Dealers In City, East Hartford; 9 Arrested," 20 June 2018 USA TODAY Federal agents obtained a wiretap on President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen that intercepted at least one call between a line associated with Cohen and a line at the White House, NBC reported. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Trump attorney Michael Cohen was wiretapped, feds intercepted call with White House: report," 3 May 2018 Earlier today, fake news NBC reporting the FBI wiretap Trump's longtime personal attorney. Fox News, "DiGenova: It's clear the Mueller team is acting in bad faith," 4 May 2018 Prosecutors would usually need a search warrant to gain access to a suspect’s mail and special authorization from a judge for a wiretap to listen in on their phone calls. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Prosecutors seek access to Capital Gazette shooting suspect's jail mail; his lawyer says that violates his rights," 12 July 2018

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

Verb

1918, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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More Definitions for wiretap

wiretap

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wiretap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to place a device on (someone's phone) in order to secretly listen to telephone calls

wiretap

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wiretap (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device that allows someone to secretly listen to phone conversations

: a conversation that has been recorded using a wiretap

wiretap

verb
wire·tap | \ˈwīr-ˌtap \
wiretapped; wiretapping

Legal Definition of wiretap 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in wiretapping had probable cause to wiretap

transitive verb

: to interpret through wiretapping a wiretapped telephone conversation also : to connect to the telephone line of for the purpose of wiretapping wiretapped her home — compare bug, eavesdrop

wiretap

noun

Legal Definition of wiretap (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of wiretapping we have held previously that wiretaps are a form of a searchWhack v. State, 615 A.2d 1226 (1992)

2 : an electrical connection for wiretapping — compare pen register

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More from Merriam-Webster on wiretap

See words that rhyme with wiretap

Spanish Central: Translation of wiretap

Britannica English: Translation of wiretap for Arabic Speakers

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