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Recorded since 1793, from French espionnage, from espionner (“to spy”), from Middle French espionner (“to spy”), from espion (“spy”), from Old French espion (“spy”), from Frankish *spehō (“spy”), from Frankish *spehōn (“to spy”), from Proto-Germanic *spehōną (“to spy, peek, peer”). In modern times, the French pronunciation of the s, which had fallen silent since the 13th century, was restored due to the influence of Italian spione (“spy”), and was therefore also adopted by the English. More at spy.
espionage (countable and uncountable, plural espionages)
- The act or process of learning secret information through clandestine means.
- 1859, George Meredith, chapter 16, in The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. A History of Father and Son. […], volume (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Chapman and Hall, →OCLC:
- So intolerable did Heavy Benson's espionage become, that Raynham would have grown depopulated of its womankind had not Adrian interfered, who pointed out to the Baronet what a fearful arm his butler was wielding.
- 2003 June 20, Joseph Purdy, “Totally Switched”, in Totally Spies!, season 2, episode 19, Teletoon, Marathon Media, spoken by Alexandra “Alex” (Andrea Taylor as Clover and Katie Leigh):
- What a freak show! I mean, how often do you meet a wrestling librarian?
Yeah, about as often as you meet a high schoolgirl involved in international espionage… Okay, bad example.
act of learning secret information through clandestine means
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *speḱ-
- English terms borrowed from French
- English terms derived from French
- English terms derived from Middle French
- English terms derived from Old French
- English terms derived from Frankish
- English terms derived from Proto-Germanic
- English 4-syllable words
- English terms with IPA pronunciation
- English terms with audio links
- English lemmas
- English nouns
- English uncountable nouns
- English countable nouns
- English terms with quotations