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espionage

Overview

Define the English word espionage below. Espionage is a noun. Also define the related word clandestine.

English

Etymology

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.

Pronunciation

Noun

espionage (countable and uncountable, plural espionages)

  1. The act or process of learning secret information through clandestine means.
    • 1859, George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, Chapter 16:
      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.

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Translations

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