Spy v. t. [imp. & p. p. Spied p. pr. & vb. n. Spying.]
1. To gain sight of; to discover at a distance, or in a state of concealment; to espy; to see.
One, in reading, skipped over all sentences where he spied a note of admiration. --Swift.
2. To discover by close search or examination.
Look about with your eyes; spy what things are to be reformed in the church of England. --Latimer.
3. To explore; to view, inspect, and examine secretly, as a country; -- usually with out.
Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof. --Num. xxi. 32.
Spy, v. i. To search narrowly; to scrutinize.
It is my nature's plague
To spy into abuses. --Shak.
Spy, n.; pl. Spies
1. One who keeps a constant watch of the conduct of others. “These wretched spies of wit.”
2. Mil. A person sent secretly into an enemy's camp, territory, or fortifications, to inspect his works, ascertain his strength, movements, or designs, and to communicate such intelligence to the proper officer.
Spy money, money paid to a spy; the reward for private or secret intelligence regarding the enemy.
Spy Wednesday Eccl., the Wednesday immediately preceding the festival of Easter; -- so called in allusion to the betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot.
Syn: -- See Emissary, and Scout.
n 1: (military) a secret agent hired by a state to obtain
information about its enemies or by a business to obtain
industrial secrets from competitors [syn: undercover
2: a secret watcher; someone who secretly watches other people;
"my spies tell me that you had a good time last night"
v 1: catch sight of [syn: descry, spot, espy]
2: watch, observe, or inquire secretly [syn: stag, snoop, sleuth]
3: secretly collect sensitive or classified information; engage
in espionage; "spy for the Russians"