- to listen secretly to a private conversation.
- Archaic. to eavesdrop on.
- water that drips from the eaves.
- the ground on which such water falls.
Origin of eavesdrop
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for eaves-dropping
Just at this juncture, the eaves-dropping by-stander who furnishes the mem.
We don't interfere; there is no eaves-dropping, or prying behind the curtain.History of American Socialisms
John Humphrey Noyes
If we are going to talk of these things we had better go where there is no chance of eaves-dropping.The Threatening Eye
Edward Frederick Knight
Eaves-dropping has been universally condemned, and "listeners," they say, "never hear good of themselves."All-Hallow Eve; or, The Test of Futurity.
It never occurred to her that she was eaves-dropping, and even if it had, she would not have felt greatly ashamed.The Rebellion of Margaret
- (intr) to listen secretly to the private conversation of others
C17: back formation from earlier evesdropper, from Old English yfesdrype water dripping from the eaves; see eaves, drop; compare Old Norse upsardropi
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for eaves-dropping
c.1600, probably a back-formation from eavesdropper. Related: Eavesdropping.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper