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See more synonyms for spyware on Thesaurus.com
  1. Computers. software that is installed surreptitiously and gathers information about an Internet user's browsing habits, intercepts the user's personal data, etc., transmitting this information to a third party: a parent's use of spyware to monitor a child's online activities.
  2. tools that are used to conduct espionage: The nation's sophisticated spyware rivals that of the CIA.
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Origin of spyware

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for spyware


  1. computing software installed via the internet on a computer without the user's knowledge and used to send information about the user to another computer
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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 spyware


by 2000, from spy + ending from software in the computer sense.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper