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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Instead of immediately confiscating the phones, federal agents obtained warrants authorizing wiretaps, listened, and waited. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "California gang leaders’ prison cell phones reveal secrets that stayed in the dark for years," 3 July 2019 His killing launched police and federal agents on a yearlong investigation — wiretaps, undercover drug buys — that brought down an East Baltimore street gang led by the Bloods. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Mistrial declared on murder charges against Baltimore teen accused of killing Sebastian Dvorak," 20 June 2019 One of his concerns is the F.B.I.’s partial reliance on research financed by Democratic Party interests to obtain court approval to wiretap of a former Trump campaign adviser. New York Times, "People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power.," 9 June 2019 Correction posted May 12, 2011 The original version of this paragraph misidentified which information was recorded by the wiretap played during the trial. The Christian Science Monitor, "Corrections," 4 Mar. 2019 Prosecutors had argued that the email tracking was not an invasive tool and so did not meet the legal criteria of a search or a wiretap and did not require a search warrant. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Navy judge removes lead prosecutor from Navy SEAL criminal case," 3 June 2019 More from Forde and Thamel: Sources familiar with the probe told Yahoo Sports that there’s a surprising level of specificity in the documents, bank records and wiretaps involving Miller’s business. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "Report: Xavier's Sumner, Christon were clients of agency under investigation," 22 Feb. 2018 Former senior Justice Department officials who handled applications for wiretap warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) say that such applications typically include dozens of pages and undergo rigorous vetting. Author: Ellen Nakashima, Anchorage Daily News, "Officials: Justice Department told court of political influence in wiretap request," 3 Feb. 2018 That legal standard is essentially the same as the one courts use when approving routine search warrants and wiretap orders in criminal cases. Brad Heath, USA TODAY, "Nunes memo release: What you need to know about the controversial document," 2 Feb. 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 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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