< /ˈivzˌdrɪp/.

  1. water that drips from the eaves.
  2. the ground on which such water falls.

verb -drops, -dropping or -dropped

  1. (intr) to listen secretly to the private conversation of others

mid-15c., from Middle English eavesdrop, from Old English yfesdrype “place around a house where the rainwater drips off the roof,” from eave (q.v.) + drip (v.). Technically, “one who stands at walls or windows to overhear what’s going on inside.”


c.1600, probably a back-formation from eavesdropper. Related: Eavesdropping.

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