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eavesdrop

[eevz-drop] /ˈivzˌdrɒp/
verb (used without object), eavesdropped, eavesdropping.
1.
to listen secretly to a private conversation.
verb (used with object), eavesdropped, eavesdropping.
2.
Archaic. to eavesdrop on.
noun, Also, eavesdrip
[eevz-drip] /ˈivzˌdrɪp/ (Show IPA)
3.
water that drips from the eaves.
4.
the ground on which such water falls.
Origin of eavesdrop
late Middle English
900
before 900; (noun) Middle English evesdrope, evesdripe, Old English yfesdrype; as v., probably back formation from eavesdropper, late Middle English evisdroppyr, apparently literally, one who stands on the eavesdrop in order to listen to conversations inside the house; see eave, drop, drip
Related forms
eavesdropper, noun
antieavesdropping, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for eavesdrop
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let us hope that eavesdrop will sketch off Henbane, and that Henbane will poison him for his trouble.

    Crotchet Castle Thomas Love Peacock
  • With no desire to eavesdrop, Mr. Green could not avoid overhearing the conversation.

  • So I judged I'd got to do the other thing—lay for them and eavesdrop.

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • I said to him, 'It won't do, daddy, for you to eavesdrop at our doors.

    A Family of Noblemen Mikhal Saltykov
  • "You'd think there were better things to eavesdrop on than fishes," said Urson.

    The Jewels of Aptor Samuel R. Delany
British Dictionary definitions for eavesdrop

eavesdrop

/ˈiːvzˌdrɒp/
verb -drops, -dropping, -dropped
1.
(intransitive) to listen secretly to the private conversation of others
Derived Forms
eavesdropper, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for eavesdrop
v.

c.1600, probably a back-formation from eavesdropper. Related: Eavesdropping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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15
17
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