Definition of espial in English:


Pronunciation /əsˈpī(ə)l/ /əsˈpaɪ(ə)l/


  • The action of watching or catching sight of something or someone or the fact of being seen.

    ‘he withdrew from his point of espial’
    • ‘Presently he moved forward, and, with head still bent, approached the lower end of the garden, where, in a wall higher than that over which Goldthorpe made his espial, there was a wooden door.’
    • ‘Among the crowd entering the exhibition he could easily keep her in sight without risk of his espial being detected.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘spying’): from Old French espiaille, from espier ‘espy’.