- a person employed by a government to obtain secret information or intelligence about another, usually hostile, country, especially with reference to military or naval affairs.
- a person who keeps close and secret watch on the actions and words of another or others.
- a person who seeks to obtain confidential information about the activities, plans, methods, etc., of an organization or person, especially one who is employed for this purpose by a competitor: an industrial spy.
- the act of spying.
- to observe secretively or furtively with hostile intent (often followed by on or upon).
- to act as a spy; engage in espionage.
- to be on the lookout; keep watch.
- to search for or examine something closely or carefully.
- to catch sight of suddenly; espy; descry: to spy a rare bird overhead.
- to discover or find out by observation or scrutiny (often followed by out).
- to observe (a person, place, enemy, etc.) secretively or furtively with hostile intent.
- to inspect or examine or to search or look for closely or carefully.
Origin of spy
Examples from the Web for spied
This is an agency that spied on the very committee investigating it and whose current director is an admitted liar.After Torture Report, Our Moral Authority As a Nation Is Gone
December 11, 2014
Biographer Jane Ridley has written of Edward VII, “He spied on Bertie, he whipped him, he treated him as a patient.”Kate and William’s Royal Family Values
September 22, 2014
Kim Kardashian We spied, with our little eyes, something that may not have been as curvy as it appeared.James Franco and More Celebrity Social Media Fails
April 5, 2014
She hurried in the direction from which the soldier was fleeing and spied a man in combat fatigues.How the Army Betrayed the Hero of Fort Hood
April 4, 2014
The last release of secret docs revealed the Security Service spied on Charlie Chaplin at the request of J Edgar Hoover's FBI.The Daily Beast Looks Ahead: February 24 - March 2
February 23, 2014
Are we to have our house occupied and to be spied upon also?The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
She spied an unoccupied seat, looked at her watch, and sat down.A Nest of Spies
“I have been wanting to know you ever since I first spied you this morning,” she beamed.Polly of Lady Gay Cottage
Emma C. Dowd
I guess I was half crazy when I thought I had been spied out.
We deemed it a hunting tower from which water-fowl might be spied in the spring.Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled
- a person employed by a state or institution to obtain secret information from rival countries, organizations, companies, etc
- a person who keeps secret watch on others
- obsolete a close view
- (intr usually foll by on) to keep a secret or furtive watch (on)
- (intr) to engage in espionage
- (tr) to catch sight of; descry
Word Origin and History for spied
mid-13c., from Old French espier "to spy," probably from Frankish *spehon, from Proto-Germanic *spekh- (cf. Old High German *spehon "to look out for, scout, spy," German spähen "to spy," Middle Dutch spien), the Germanic survivals of the productive PIE root *spek- "to look" (see scope (n.1)).
mid-13c., "one who spies on another," From Old French espie, probably from a Germanic source (see spy (v.)).