To wiretap is to secretly listen in on someone's phone conversation. In some cases, the FBI will use a wiretap to investigate a serious federal crime.

A wiretap is either the act of surveillance with a listening device or the device itself: "They put a wiretap on the mob boss's home phone, but he always uses a cellphone." As a verb, wiretap means to use such a device: "The government can't wiretap someone without a warrant." Since the invention of the telephone, law enforcement has used wiretaps — originally from the sense of tapping (obtaining information from) a telephone wire.

Definitions of wiretap
  1. noun
    the act of tapping a telephone or telegraph line to get information
    synonyms: tap
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    type of:
    investigating, investigation
    the work of inquiring into something thoroughly and systematically
  2. verb
    tap a telephone or telegraph wire to get information
    synonyms: bug, intercept, tap
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    type of:
    eavesdrop, listen in
    listen without the speaker's knowledge
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