wiretap

verb
wire·​tap | \ ˈwī(-ə)r-ˌtap How to pronounce wiretap (audio) \
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 No, the museum is not planning to wiretap patrons to find out what’s in their cellphones. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: While the Met contemplates selling its treasured art, rich trustees sit idle," 14 Feb. 2021 Cohen-Watnick was previously involved in attempts to back Trump’s false claims that his White House predecessor, Barack Obama, sought to wiretap Trump. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "Trump names Richard Grenell, former ambassador to Germany, to Holocaust museum post," 23 Dec. 2020 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications seeking the authority to wiretap onetime Trump campaign associate Carter Page. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Ted Cruz says DOJ and FBI should help determine whether James Comey or Andrew McCabe lied about leak," 11 Dec. 2020 Priebus asked, referring to a top-secret warrant to wiretap an American citizen suspected of being a spy for a foreign government. NBC news, "Michael Flynn's firing: A lie, a leak, and then a liability," 13 Feb. 2017 An inspector general's report found several errors, omissions and misstatements in the FBI's warrant applications to wiretap Carter Page in 2016 and 2017. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "AG Barr: 'What happened to the Trump presidential campaign ... must never happen again'," 1 Sep. 2020 Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham unveiled a letter from the Justice Department lawyer who signed off on all the surveillance warrant applications seeking court authority to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Lindsey Graham reveals letter from DOJ attorney responding to issues with Carter Page FISA applications," 30 Sep. 2020 Last week, Durham snagged his first guilty plea from former FBI lawyer Clinesmith for doctoring an email during the process of the bureau seeking a court's permission to renew an order to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Joe diGenova: Brennan appears to be a witness against Comey in Durham inquiry," 25 Aug. 2020 The audit came months after an inspector general report on the FBI's Russia investigation found significant errors and omissions in applications the agency had submitted to wiretap a former Trump campaign aide. Eric Tucker, Star Tribune, "FBI: Review of surveillance applications found minor errors," 30 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the behest of Vincent Townsend, assistant publisher of the News, Mr. Lankford had a lavish expense account to buy wiretap and photographic surveillance equipment. Washington Post, "Tom Lankford, civil rights reporter secretly in league with police, dies at 85," 17 Jan. 2021 Miller sat out a game in 2018 after ESPN reported that he was heard on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to future No. 1 overall NBA pick Deandre Ayton. Staff And News Services, SFChronicle.com, "Arizona self-imposes 1-year postseason ban on men’s program," 29 Dec. 2020 Clinesmith, who worked at the FBI for four years, acknowledged altering an email in 2017 that investigators relied on to justify an application to wiretap Page, according to court records. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Barr names Russia prosecutor Durham as special counsel, ensures probe continues under Biden," 1 Dec. 2020 To me, any material misrepresentation or error in a (wiretap) application is unacceptable. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "'We did our job': Former deputy FBI chief Andrew McCabe to defend Russia investigation," 8 July 2016 The Enquirer’s investigation began after the newspaper obtained a federal wiretap affidavit which had been filed under seal with the Southern District of Ohio. Kevin Grasha, The Enquirer, "‘Untouchable’ attorney arrested, charged with human trafficking," 24 Oct. 2020 The call, Duree continued, occurred more than a year before the investigation into Scott began and the wiretap of it was performed by Colombian law enforcement. Faimon Roberts, NOLA.com, "Attorneys for convicted DEA Agent Chad Scott accuse prosecutors of lying, demand new trial," 23 Oct. 2020 No evidence has surfaced to suggest Obama or Biden ever spied on Trump’s campaign, ordered a wiretap on Trump Tower, or initiated or meddled in the FBI’s work looking into possible coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia. Politifact Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Fact-checking last night's presidential debate, Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump," 23 Oct. 2020 American law enforcement agents were listening in as Mexican cartel members chattered on a wiretap, talking about a powerful, shadowy figure known as El Padrino, or The Godfather. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Who Was ‘El Padrino,’ Godfather to Drug Cartel? Mexico’s Defense Chief, U.S. Says," 16 Oct. 2020

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 How to pronounce wiretap (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on wiretap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wiretap

Britannica English: Translation of wiretap for Arabic Speakers

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