When police officers watch a suspect's house, keeping an eye on who's coming and going, they call it a stakeout. Most stakeouts are done stealthily, with the officers trying to avoid being seen.

Detectives on a stakeout often spend long hours sitting in an unmarked police car, watching a house or building. The stakeout might, for example, be used to prove that a suspect who claims to need a wheelchair can actually to walk, or that two people who say they've never met each other are actually close friends. The word comes from the stake that a surveyor uses to mark off a piece of land, and it's been around since the 1940's.

Definitions of stakeout

n surveillance of some place or some person by the police (as in anticipation of a crime)

Type of:
close observation of a person or group (usually by the police)

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