eavesdrop

When you eavesdrop, you secretly listen in on someone's conversation. A little girl might eavesdrop on her parents in an attempt to find out what she's getting for her birthday.

Whenever you deliberately overhear a phone conversation, or two people having a quiet argument, you eavesdrop. You might eavesdrop on a funny exchange between two friends at a cafe, or eavesdrop on an important conversation between your boss and one of your coworkers. The verb eavesdrop comes from the old-fashioned noun eavesdropper, "one who listens from under the eaves," from the even more old-fashioned eavesdrop, "ground where rainwater drips off the roof."

Definitions of eavesdrop
  1. verb
    listen without the speaker's knowledge
    “the jealous man was eavesdropping on his wife's conversations”
    synonyms: listen in
    see moresee less
    types:
    bug, intercept, tap, wiretap
    tap a telephone or telegraph wire to get information
    type of:
    listen
    hear with intention
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