eavesdrop

[eevz-drop]
verb (used without object), eavesdropped, eavesdropping.
1.
to listen secretly to a private conversation.
verb (used with object), eavesdropped, eavesdropping.
2.
Archaic. to eavesdrop on.
noun Also, eavesdrip [eevz-drip] .
3.
water that drips from the eaves.
4.
the ground on which such water falls.

Origin:
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

eavesdropper, noun
antieavesdropping, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To eavesdrop
Collins
World English Dictionary
eavesdrop (ˈiːvzˌdrɒp)
 
vb , -drops, -dropping, -dropped
(intr) to listen secretly to the private conversation of others
 
[C17: back formation from earlier evesdropper, from Old English yfesdrype water dripping from the eaves; see eaves, drop; compare Old Norse upsardropi]
 
'eavesdropper
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

eavesdrop
c.1600, back formation from eavesdropper. Related: Eavesdropping.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature