Etymology
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espy (v.)

early 13c., aspy, from Old French espiier "observe, watch closely, spy on; guard, keep in custody" (12c., Modern French épier), from Vulgar Latin *spiare, from a Germanic source (compare Old High German spehon "to spy;" see spy (v.)). For initial e-, see e-. Related: Espied; espial.

updated on September 11, 2014

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Definitions of espy from WordNet

espy (v.)
catch sight of;
Synonyms: descry / spot / spy
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.