View synonyms for wiretap


[ wahyuhr-tap ]


  1. an act or instance of tapping telephone or telegraph wires for evidence or other information.

verb (used with object)

, wire·tapped, wire·tap·ping.
  1. to obtain (information, evidence, etc.) by tapping telephone or telegraph wires:

    to wiretap conversations.

  2. to listen in on by means of a wiretap:

    to wiretap a telephone; to wiretap a conversation.

verb (used without object)

, wire·tapped, wire·tap·ping.
  1. to tap telephone or telegraph wires for evidence, information, etc.


  1. pertaining to or obtained by wiretap.


/ ˈwaɪəˌtæp /


  1. to make a connection to a telegraph or telephone wire in order to obtain information secretly

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwireˌtapping, noun
  • ˈwireˌtapper, noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of wiretap1

First recorded in 1950–55; back formation from wiretapper
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Example Sentences

On Hoover’s desk sat a notebook containing all the outstanding wiretaps the Bureau then had running.

From Time

Theoharis obtained tens of thousands of documents related to illegal wiretaps, mail openings and break-ins.

There don’t seem to be any secret wiretaps or defectors who are telling all.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s guide to recording police notes that in places with one-party-consent wiretap laws—38 US states and the District of Columbia—you can freely record audio.

The government got what it needed from a wiretap of defendant Basaaly Saeed Moalin's phone, not from the mass collection of metadata.

After a wiretap at the home of a Civella relative produced devastating evidence of hidden ownership, the FBI moved in.

Tipped off by the wiretap, federal agents in another incident pulled over a locked freezer truck, loaded with 26 people.

Helpfully, he's fled to Yemen, where that nation's intelligence service can freely wiretap him.

After all, to get a FISA judge to grant a warrant, you at least need to know the name of the person you want to wiretap.