Definition of spy noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//spaɪ//
; NAmE NAmE//spaɪ//
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(pl. spies) a person who tries to get secret information about another country, organization or person, especially somebody who is employed by a government or the police He was denounced as a foreign spy. a police spy a spy plane/satellite (= used to watch the activities of the enemy) Video spy cameras are being used in public places. See related entries: Terrorism Word OriginMiddle English: shortening of Old French espie ‘espying’, espier ‘espy’, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin specere ‘behold, look’.Extra examples Counter-intelligence officers uncovered a spy ring involving twenty agents. He denied acting as an enemy spy. He was a spy for the government. Soviet spies who had infiltrated the American government the director of a top American spy agency He became a government spy during the war. He worked as a British spy in Russia.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: spy