Spy definition

spī
To watch or observe secretly.

Was sent to spy out the enemy camp.

verb
13
2
One who secretly collects information concerning the enemies of a government or group.
noun
9
2
To discover by close observation.
verb
4
1
A person employed by a government to get secret information about or monitor the affairs, plans, armed forces, etc. of another government.
noun
4
1
Spy is defined as to secretly watch someone or something.

An example of to spy is hiding behind a bush and watching someone through their window.

verb
1
0
Advertisement
A person employed by a company, as in industry or commerce, to discover the business secrets of another company.
noun
1
0
Used for purposes of military espionage.

Spy plane, spy satellite.

adjective
1
0
One who secretly collects information for a business about one or more of its competitors.
noun
2
2
The definition of a spy is a person who secretly watches what people are doing.

An example of spy is Mata Hari who was employed by Germany during the first world war.

noun
0
0
(now rare) An act of spying.
noun
0
0
Advertisement
Of or about spies or espionage.
adjective
0
0
A person who secretly watches and examines the actions of other individuals or organizations and gathers information on them (usually to gain an advantage).
noun
0
0
(intransitive) To act as a spy.

During the Cold War, Russia and America would each spy on each other for recon.

verb
0
0
To spot; to catch sight of.

I think I can spy that hot guy coming over here.

verb
0
0
(intransitive) To search narrowly; to scrutinize.
verb
0
0
Advertisement
To explore; to view; inspect and examine secretly, as a country.
verb
0
0
One who secretly keeps watch on another or others.
noun
1
2
To catch sight of; make out; perceive; see.
verb
1
2
To catch sight of; see.

Spied the ship on the horizon.

verb
0
1
To engage in espionage.
verb
0
1
Advertisement
To investigate or observe something, especially in secret.

Spying into the neighbor's activities.

verb
0
1
To watch or observe closely and secretly, usually with unfriendly purpose.
verb
0
1
To watch or observe closely and secretly; specif., to act as a spy.
verb
0
1
To make a close examination or careful inspection.
verb
0
1
A person who keeps close and secret watch on another or others.
noun
0
1
Advertisement
spy out
  • to discover or seek to discover by close observation, inspection, etc.
idiom
0
0

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
spy
Plural:
spies

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

spy out

Origin of spy

  • Middle English spie from Old French espie from espier to watch of Germanic origin spek- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English spien, aphetic variant of earlier espien "to espy", from Old French espier (“to spy") (espie "a spy"), from Frankish *spehōn (“to spy"), from Proto-Germanic *spehōnÄ… (“to see, look"), from Proto-Indo-European *spek- (“to look"). Akin to Old High German spehōn, spehhōn "to scout, look out for, spy" (German spähen "to spy"), Middle Dutch spien "to spy", Dutch bespieden "to spy on".

    From Wiktionary