[ih-spahy-uh l]


the act of spying.
the act of keeping watch; observation.

Origin of espial

1350–1400; Middle English espiaille < Middle French. See espy, -al2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for espial

Historical Examples of espial

  • Her system of espial is even more minute and irritating than that of Russia.

    The Destroyer

    Burton Egbert Stevenson

  • Then Wisdom altered its method and spoke of espial and discovery.

  • From his new point of espial Kent checked off the members of the party.

    The Grafters

    Francis Lynde

  • The act of espial had always been hateful to him: he preferred to trust his brethren, and it cost far less trouble.

    Brother Copas

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • At the moment of my espial, Cornwallis was speaking, and I drew back to listen, well enough content to be in earshot.

British Dictionary definitions for espial


noun archaic

the act or fact of being seen or discovered
the act of noticing
the act of spying upon; secret observation
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