Definition of espy in English:



[WITH OBJECT]literary
  • Catch sight of.

    ‘she espied her daughter rounding the corner’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘If I espy a weed trying to masquerade as one of my plants I just yank it out.’
    • ‘We espy the professor and his assistant in the distance and amble over to them.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French espier, ultimately of Germanic origin and related to Dutch spieden and German spähan. Compare with spy.