English : Eavesdropping

WHAT IS the origin and meaning of eavesdropping?

By Mr. Ravi, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India - 20th Feb. 2007

When you eavesdrop on someone what you are doing is overhearing his/her conversation with another person. You achieve this without being caught. An individual who eavesdrops is an eavesdropper.

• Jayant eavesdropped on his children's conversation.

• I don't want you eavesdropping on anyone.

• The eavesdropper was Krishna.

Nowadays, most houses have flat roofs. In the old days, most roofs were slanted. The eaves are the lower edges of the roof that project beyond the walls of the house. Their purpose is to throw off the rainwater that falls on the roof. The eavesdrop was the word used to refer to the place around the house where the water from the eaves dripped.

An eavesdropper was therefore someone who stood in the eavesdrop area outside the house and listened to the conversations taking place inside. Nowadays, the word has come to mean listening secretly to someone's conversation. One needn't be outside the house to eavesdrop. It can be done from the inside as well.

And thanks to electronic gadgets, one needn't be in the same town or country in order to eavesdrop on someone! Beware, Big Brother may be eavesdropping on you!

Synonyms and Antonyms form an integral part of the English Language. Acquaintance with the vocabulary of the English language is a necessity for effective expression either in written or in an oral from. Synonyms are nothing but the similar meanings of a particular word or its semantic relation. A Synonym is a word or a phrase that means the same as another word or a phrase in the same language. Antonyms are the negative connotation of a particular word. An Antonym is a word or phrase that is opposite in meaning to a particular word or a phrase in the same language.

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