fly on the wall

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fly on the wall (plural flies on the wall)

  1. (idiomatic) A quiet, non-participating, or unseen observer; an eavesdropper or witness.
    • 1918 August 9, “Clark Would Draft Even Men of 68”, in New York Times, retrieved 28 Oct. 2008, page 11:
      James W. Gerard, ex-Ambassador to Germany, the first speaker of the evening, said that at that moment he would like to be a fly on the wall of the palace at Potsdam to hear what the Potsdam gang were saying about our soldiers.