noun, plural spies.
a person employed by a government to obtain secret information or intelligence about another, usually hostile, country, especially with reference to military or naval affairs.
a person who keeps close and secret watch on the actions and words of another or others.
a person who seeks to obtain confidential information about the activities, plans, methods, etc., of an organization or person, especially one who is employed for this purpose by a competitor: an industrial spy.
the act of spying.
verb (used without object), spied, spying.
to observe secretively or furtively with hostile intent (often followed by on or upon ).
to act as a spy; engage in espionage.
to be on the lookout; keep watch.
to search for or examine something closely or carefully.
verb (used with object), spied, spying.
to catch sight of suddenly; espy; descry: to spy a rare bird overhead.
to discover or find out by observation or scrutiny (often followed by out ).
to observe (a person, place, enemy, etc.) secretively or furtively with hostile intent.
to inspect or examine or to search or look for closely or carefully.

1200–50; (v.) Middle English spien, aphetic variant of espien to espy; (noun) Middle English, aphetic variant of espy a spy < Old French espie

spyship, noun
outspy, verb (used with object), outspied, outspying.
superspy, noun, plural superspies.
unspied, adjective
unspying, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
spy (spaɪ)
n , pl spies
1.  a person employed by a state or institution to obtain secret information from rival countries, organizations, companies, etc
2.  a person who keeps secret watch on others
3.  obsolete a close view
vb (usually foll by on) , spies, spies, spying, spied
4.  to keep a secret or furtive watch (on)
5.  (intr) to engage in espionage
6.  (tr) to catch sight of; descry
[C13 spien, from Old French espier, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German spehōn, Middle Dutch spien]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

mid-13c., from O.Fr. espier "to spy," espie "a spy," probably from Frankish *spehon, from P.Gmc. *spekh- (cf. O.H.G. *spehon "to look out for, scout, spy," Ger. spähen "to spy," M.Du. spien), the Gmc. survivals of the productive PIE root *spek- "to look" (see scope (1)).
Spy-glass "telescope, field-glass" is from 1706.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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