A man eavesdropping.
An example of eavesdrop is to listen to your neighbors' argument through a vent in your apartment.
Origin of eavesdropMiddle English evesdrop, altered (after drop, drop) from Old English yfesdrype: see eaves and drip
intransitive verb-·dropped·, -·drop·ping
Origin of eavesdropprob. back-form. < eavesdropper, lit., one who stands on the eavesdrop to listen
intransitive verbeaves·dropped, eaves·drop·ping, eaves·drops
- To listen secretly to the private conversation of others.
- To gain access to private electronic communications, as through wiretapping or the interception of email or cell phone calls.
Origin of eavesdropProbably back-formation from eavesdropper one who eavesdrops from Middle English evesdropper from evesdrop place where water falls from the eaves from Old English yfesdrype ; see upo in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present eavesdrops, present participle eavesdropping, simple past and past participle eavesdropped)
To eavesdrop usually implies the listener is purposefully trying to hear the conversation of others. To overhear is more often accidental.
- The dripping of rain from the eaves of a house
- The space around a house on which such water drips
- A concealed aperture through which an occupant of a building can surreptitiously listen to people talking at an entrance to the building
- The act of intentionally hearing a conversation not intended to be heard
eavesdrop - Computer Definition
To secretly listen to or overhear a conversation without physically wiretapping a circuit. In medieval times, eavesdrop was rainwater that dropped to the ground from the eaves of a building. An eavesdropper was one who secretly hid in the area of the eavesdrop to overhear a private conversation. Contemporary electronic eavesdropping undoubtedly is a much drier and more comfortable endeavor. See also Echelon and wiretap.