Definition of espy in English:



[with object]literary
  • Catch sight of.

    ‘she espied her daughter rounding the corner’
    • ‘We espy the professor and his assistant in the distance and amble over to them.’
    • ‘If I espy a weed trying to masquerade as one of my plants I just yank it out.’
    • ‘‘I want that,’ my sister Molly says, espying my purchase.’
    • ‘Later, I am in a supermarket, and I espy a former teacher whom I did not like.’
    • ‘This afternoon, whilst I was chatting to an elderly couple who wanted directions to somewhere, my eyes wandered to the car park verge and espied a single solitary daffodil blooming in the late winter sun.’
    perceive, make out, pick out, detect, recognize, notice, observe, see, spot
    catch sight of, glimpse, catch a glimpse of, get a glimpse of, see, spot, spy, notice, observe, make out, discern, perceive, pick out, sight, detect, have sight of
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Middle English: from Old French espier, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to Dutch spieden and German spähan. Compare with spy.