spy

[ spahy ]
/ spaɪ /

noun, plural spies.

verb (used without object), spied, spy·ing.

verb (used with object), spied, spy·ing.

QUIZZES

QUIZ TIME: TEST YOUR MEMORY OF THE MAY 2020 WORDS OF THE DAY

Let the aeolian gusts transport you back to these popular Words of the Day from the month of May. How many do you remember?
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to travel or journey, especially to walk on foot”?

Origin of spy

1200–50; (v.) Middle English spien, aphetic variant of espien to espy; (noun) Middle English, aphetic variant of espy a spy < Old French espie

OTHER WORDS FROM spy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for spy out (1 of 2)

spy out

verb (tr, adverb)

to discover by careful observationto spy out a route
to make a close scrutiny ofto spy out the land

British Dictionary definitions for spy out (2 of 2)

spy
/ (spaɪ) /

noun plural spies

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

verb spies, spying or spied

(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 for spy

C13 spien, from Old French espier, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German spehōn, Middle Dutch spien
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