[ es-pee-uh-nahzh, -nij, es-pee-uh-nahzh ]
/ ˈɛs pi əˌnɑʒ, -nɪdʒ, ˌɛs pi əˈnɑʒ /


the act or practice of spying.
the use of spies by a government to discover the military and political secrets of other nations.
the use of spies by a corporation or the like to acquire the plans, technical knowledge, etc., of a competitor: industrial espionage.

Origin of espionage

1785–95; <French espionnage,Middle French espionage, equivalent to espionn(er) to spy (derivative of espion spy <Italian spione<Germanic; akin to German spähen to look out) + -age-age


non·es·pi·o·nage, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for espionage

British Dictionary definitions for espionage

/ (ˈɛspɪəˌnɑːʒ, ˌɛspɪəˈnɑːʒ, ˈɛspɪənɪdʒ) /


the systematic use of spies to obtain secret information, esp by governments to discover military or political secrets
the act or practice of spying

Word Origin for espionage

C18: from French espionnage, from espionner to spy, from espion spy, from Old Italian spione, of Germanic origin; compare German spähen to spy
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