[ spahy ]
/ spaɪ /

noun, plural spies.

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

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

Nearby words

  1. sputter,
  2. sputtering,
  3. sputteringly,
  4. sputum,
  5. spuyten duyvil creek,
  6. spy on,
  7. spy out,
  8. spy wednesday,
  9. spyglass,
  10. spyhole

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

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for spy out

spy out

verb (tr, adverb)

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


/ (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

Word Origin and History for spy out
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper