Definition of eavesdrop in English:



  • Secretly listen to a conversation.

    ‘my father eavesdropped on my phone calls’
    • ‘How do I confront him without letting him know that I eavesdropped on his conversation?’
    • ‘As I head home after a long, emotional day, I eavesdrop on some random conversations.’
    • ‘Sent to his room by Aunt Lou, Joe eavesdrops on the conversation.’
    • ‘I move to a booth behind theirs and eavesdrop on their conversation.’
    • ‘I wanted to listen to you live, as though I was eavesdropping on your conversation.’
    • ‘He watches a woman chase a runaway dog and eavesdrops on conversations even more banal than his prose.’
    • ‘Try eavesdropping on a conversation the next time you're on the bus.’
    • ‘An American spy plane flying over China was said to have eavesdropped on their conversation.’
    • ‘Trying to look like I was having fun jumping up and down, I secretly eavesdrop on their conversation.’
    • ‘Why can't people be content to eavesdrop on the conversations around them?’
    • ‘We had to eavesdrop on people's conversations and their telephone calls.’
    • ‘I return to my seat long before the bell and eavesdrop on the conversation of the couple behind.’
    • ‘I know it is trivial, but you don't often get to eavesdrop on the private conversations of US presidents.’
    • ‘But guards eavesdropped on my conversations, standing very close and attempting to intimidate me.’
    • ‘The idea is to allow people to communicate secure in the knowledge that nobody's eavesdropping on their conversation.’
    • ‘I eavesdropped on a conversation between two men seated next to me.’
    • ‘Also, the government can eavesdrop on any kind conversations these detainees have with their lawyers.’
    • ‘Do you stay at the door and eavesdrop on the conversation without letting anyone know you're there?’
    • ‘I was eavesdropping on his conversation with another dad and didn't quite catch it.’
    • ‘Inside the house he installed a monitoring system that taped all telephone calls and allowed him to eavesdrop on the conversation in any room.’
    listen in, spy, intrude
    monitor, tap, wiretap, record, overhear
    snoop, bug
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: back-formation from eavesdropper ( late Middle English) ‘a person who listens from under the eaves’, from the obsolete noun eavesdrop ‘the ground on to which water drips from the eaves’, probably from Old Norse upsardropi, from ups eaves + dropi a drop.