[ eevz-drop ]
See synonyms for: eavesdropeavesdroppingeavesdropper on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),eaves·dropped, eaves·drop·ping.
  1. to listen secretly to a private conversation.

verb (used with object),eaves·dropped, eaves·drop·ping.
  1. Archaic. to eavesdrop on.

nounAlso eaves·drip [eevz-drip]. /ˈivzˌdrɪp/.
  1. water that drips from the eaves.

  2. the ground on which such water falls.

Origin of eavesdrop

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

Other words from eavesdrop

  • eavesdropper, noun
  • an·ti·eaves·drop·ping, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use eavesdrop in a sentence

  • I thought she had come to her right senses, at last, and was making the shift to break off the eavesdropping.

    The Wreckers | Francis Lynde
  • He persists, then sees his mother in private, kills a courtier who was eavesdropping, and convicts his mother of her sin.

  • Relieved, yet ashamed of his eavesdropping, he ran down the road toward his home.

    Patchwork | Anna Balmer Myers
  • Paul had heard of people who actually deemed eavesdropping unbecoming!

  • It was secure from any but forcible entrance, and eavesdropping from outside would be worse than useless.

    Shadow, the Mysterious Detective | Police Captain Howard

British Dictionary definitions for eavesdrop


/ (ˈiːvzˌdrɒp) /

verb-drops, -dropping or -dropped
  1. (intr) to listen secretly to the private conversation of others

Origin of eavesdrop

C17: back formation from earlier evesdropper, from Old English yfesdrype water dripping from the eaves; see eaves, drop; compare Old Norse upsardropi

Derived forms of eavesdrop

  • eavesdropper, noun

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