spy

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See also: spý

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English spien, aphetic variant of earlier espien (to espy), from Old French espier (to spy), from Frankish *spehōn (to spy), from Proto-Germanic *spehōną (to see, look), from Proto-Indo-European *speḱ- (to look). Akin to German spähen (to spy), Dutch spieden (to spy).

The noun displaced native Old English sċēawere (literally watcher), which was also the word for "mirror." In this sense, the verb displaced Old English sċēawian, which was also the word for "to watch" and became the Modern English word show.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /spaɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪ

Noun[edit]

spy (plural spies)

  1. A person who secretly watches and examines the actions of other individuals or organizations and gathers information on them (usually to gain an advantage).
    • 2013 June 29, “Travels and travails”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 55:
      Even without hovering drones, a lurking assassin, a thumping score and a denouement, the real-life story of Edward Snowden, a rogue spy on the run, could be straight out of the cinema. But, as with Hollywood, the subplots and exotic locations may distract from the real message: America’s discomfort and its foes’ glee.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Verb[edit]

spy (third-person singular simple present spies, present participle spying, simple past and past participle spied)

  1. (intransitive) To act as a spy.
    During the Cold War, Russia and America would each spy on each other for recon.
  2. (transitive) To spot; to catch sight of.
    I think I can spy that hot guy coming over here.
  3. (intransitive) To search narrowly; to scrutinize.
  4. (transitive) To explore; to see; to view; inspect and examine secretly, as a country.

Translations[edit]

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See also[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • Japanese: スパイ (supai)
  • Korean: 스파이 (seupai)

Anagrams[edit]


Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse spýja, from Proto-Germanic *spīwaną, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ptyēw- (to spit, vomit). Compare Swedish and Danish spy, Icelandic spýja, English spew, Dutch spuwen, German speien.

Noun[edit]

spy n (definite singular spyet) (uncountable)

  1. barf (US), vomit, spew

Verb[edit]

spy (present tense spyr, simple past spydde, past participle spydd)

  1. to barf (US), throw up, vomit, spew (also figurative)

Synonyms[edit]

References[edit]


Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse spýja. The noun is derived from the verb.

Verb[edit]

spy (present tense spyr, past tense spydde, past participle spydd/spytt, passive infinitive spyast, present participle spyande, imperative spy)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) to vomit
  2. (intransitive, about blowflies) to lay eggs

Derived terms[edit]

Noun[edit]

spy n (definite singular spyet, uncountable)

  1. vomit, sick
  2. (collective) eggs of a blowfly

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Swedish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse spýja, from Proto-Germanic *spīwaną, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ptyēw- (to spit, vomit). Compare Norwegian and Danish spy, Icelandic spýja, English spew, Dutch spuwen, German speien.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

spy (present spyr, preterite spydde, supine spytt, imperative spy)

  1. to throw up, to vomit

Conjugation[edit]

Quotations[edit]

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Synonyms[edit]

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Anagrams[edit]