overhear

[oh-ver-heer]
verb (used with object), overheard, overhearing.
to hear (speech or a speaker) without the speaker's intention or knowledge: I accidentally overheard what they were saying.

Origin:
1540–50; over- + hear

overhearer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To overheard
Collins
World English Dictionary
overhear (ˌəʊvəˈhɪə)
 
vb , -hears, -hearing, -heard
(tr) to hear (a person, remark, etc) without the knowledge of the speaker

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

overhear
"to hear what one is not meant to hear," 1549, from over + hear (q.v.). The notion is perhaps "to hear beyond the intended range of the voice." O.E. oferhieran meant "to not listen, to disregard, disobey" (cf. overlook, and M.H.G. überhaeren, M.Du. overhoren in same sense).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Some people were overheard discussing the possibility of browned butter facials.
Anyone who could have overheard them would have laughed at them, but they were
  serious.
Conversations between prisoners could be overheard anywhere, and were closely
  monitored.
Of course, the potential targets should not be overheard speaking or otherwise
  be too obvious.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature