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 Now the government’s security services can wiretap and detain without judicial supervision. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Why Isn’t Macron an Illiberal Pinup?," 26 Sep. 2019 Bulger and his partner in crime, Steve Flemmi, were cited by the FBI as confidential informants whose inside intel was needed to obtain court authorization to wiretap the Boston Mafia. BostonGlobe.com, "Last week, lawyers for the Bulger family filed notice with the Justice Department that they will sue the government to get to the bottom of why the South Boston underworld leader and killer James “Whitey” Bulger was murdered in a West Virginia federal penitentiary last year.," 24 Sep. 2019 A month after Trump adviser Carter Page publicly asked then-Director James Comey for an interview to clear his name, the FBI obtained a warrant to wiretap him. Lee Smith, WSJ, "What if the FBI Had Probed Obama?," 23 Jan. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This absence of positive evidence of bias is not about the wiretaps, the FISA surveillance, or the choice of informant or use of informants. Nr Staff, National Review, "NRPLUS Conference Call with Rich Lowry and Andy McCarthy," 20 Dec. 2019 National security wiretaps are more secretive than ordinary criminal ones. Charlie Savage, New York Times, "Court Orders F.B.I. to Fix National Security Wiretaps After Damning Report," 17 Dec. 2019 Horowitz is expected to offer sharp criticism of the FBI, but he's also expected to conclude the wiretap of Page was legal, according to people familiar with the matter. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "DOJ inspector general will unveil a major report today on the FBI's handling of the Russia probe. Here’s what you need to know.," 8 Dec. 2019 Attorney General William Barr assigned one internal probe in May. Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review launched in March 2018 focuses on an FBI wiretap of Carter Page, a former policy adviser to Trump's campaign. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Federal prosecutors recommend that Andrew McCabe, former FBI second-in-command, be indicted," 20 Feb. 2019 Bifalco was caught on a wiretap discussing his scheme with Joseph Amato Jr., the son of an alleged Colombo captain. NBC News, "New York man busted for trying to fix NCAA college basketball game," 3 Oct. 2019 After being caught on a government wiretap discussing paying bribes to players, Gassnola cut a deal with federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could NCAA's Latest Notice of Allegations Against Kansas End Bill Self?," 23 Sep. 2019 Members of the group were caught on wiretap before his arrest last year threatening to kill him. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "In witness protection, how could Tekashi 6ix9ine hide his signature tattoos?," 23 Sep. 2019 And in northern Ohio, Mr. Herdman has encouraged his investigators to use wiretaps, one of their most intrusive tools, in such cases. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "The F.B.I.’s New Approach to Combating Domestic Terrorism: Straight Talk," 10 Nov. 2019

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
How to pronounce wiretap (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on wiretap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wiretap

Spanish Central: Translation of wiretap

Britannica English: Translation of wiretap for Arabic Speakers

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