Recorded since 1793, borrowed from French espionnage, from Middle French espionner (“to spy”), from Old French espion (“spy”), itself probably from a Germanic source (akin to Old High German spehon (“spy”)), possibly via Italian spione (from spia). More at spy.
- The act or process of learning secret information through clandestine means.
2003 June 20, Andrea Taylor as Clover and Katie Leigh as Alexandra “Alex”, “Totally Switched”, in Totally Spies!, season 2, episode 19, written by Joseph Purdy, Teletoon, Marathon Media:
What a freak show! I mean, how often do you meet a wrestling librarian?
Yeah, about as often as you meet a high schoolgirl involved in international espionage… Okay, bad example.
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