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eavesdroppingSecretly gaining unauthorized access to confidential communications. Examples include listening to radio transmissions or using laser interferometers to reconstitute conversations by reflecting laser beams off windows that are vibrating in synchrony to the sound in the room. See wiretapping.
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eavesdrops through keyhole on Tristan and Isolde’s conversation. [Arthurian Legend: Walsh Classical, 22]
lurking behind arras, he is killed accidentally by Hamlet. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]
inquisitive, meddlesome character who “eavesdrops on everyone.” [Br. Drama: Paul Pry, Payton, 514]
his name overheard by queen’s messenger, allowing spell to be broken. [Ger. Fairy Tale: Grimm, 19]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.