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.

1540–50; over- + hear

overhearer, noun
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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
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Word Origin & History

"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
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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
Conversations between prisoners could be overheard anywhere, and were closely
Of course, the potential targets should not be overheard speaking or otherwise
  be too obvious.
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