eavesdropping

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eavesdropping

Secretly 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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Eavesdropping

See also Curiosity, Voyeurism.
Andret
eavesdrops through keyhole on Tristan and Isolde’s conversation. [Arthurian Legend: Walsh Classical, 22]
Polonius
lurking behind arras, he is killed accidentally by Hamlet. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]
Pry, Paul
inquisitive, meddlesome character who “eavesdrops on everyone.” [Br. Drama: Paul Pry, Payton, 514]
Rumpelstiltskin
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.
References in classic literature ?
So they talked till the drinks had been brought and paid for, till another little party had quitted the room and they sat in their lonely corner, secure from observation or from any possibility of eavesdropping. Then Mr.
She could not move or speak; as one in a dream she stood and listened to the shy man's reverie, guiltless of any thought of eavesdropping.
It was so unnatural and so unsuited to the scene that it might have been made by some inhuman thing flying on wings above them or eavesdropping in the dark woods beyond.