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[eevz-drop] /ˈivzˌdrɒp/
verb (used without object), eavesdropped, eavesdropping.
to listen secretly to a private conversation.
verb (used with object), eavesdropped, eavesdropping.
Archaic. to eavesdrop on.
noun, Also, eavesdrip
[eevz-drip] /ˈivzˌdrɪp/ (Show IPA)
water that drips from the eaves.
the ground on which such water falls.
late Middle English
before 900; (noun) Middle English evesdrope, evesdripe, Old English yfesdrype; as v., probably back formation from eavesdropper, late Middle English evisdroppyr, apparently literally, one who stands on the eavesdrop in order to listen to conversations inside the house; see eave, drop, drip
Related forms
eavesdropper, noun
antieavesdropping, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for eavesdrop
  • We brag about twenty-twenty vision or the ability to eavesdrop on whispers from across the room.
  • New technology allows scientists to eavesdrop on conversations of killer whales.
  • In it, there is a retired judge who taps his neighbors' phones in order to eavesdrop on their conversations.
  • The conversation is animated, but if you could eavesdrop on it, all you'd hear would be occasional grunts and squeals.
  • Lessons from plants that eavesdrop on each other's pain.
  • Used to be if spies wanted to eavesdrop, they planted a bug.
  • New tools allow them to eavesdrop retrospectively, and to trace networks of dissidents.
  • And he has expanded the government's power to eavesdrop on its citizens.
  • Nonetheless everybody knows that the police and the judiciary can eavesdrop as they are inquiring into any misdeed.
  • It is a direct sin to monitor and eavesdrop on people.
British Dictionary definitions for eavesdrop


verb -drops, -dropping, -dropped
(intransitive) to listen secretly to the private conversation of others
Derived Forms
eavesdropper, noun
Word Origin
C17: back formation from earlier evesdropper, from Old English yfesdrype water dripping from the eaves; see eaves, drop; compare Old Norse upsardropi
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eavesdrop
c.1600, back formation from eavesdropper. Related: Eavesdropping.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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