What is the difference between ‘overhear' and 'eavesdrop'?
(S. Aditya, Mysore)
In both cases you end up hearing something that was not meant for your ears. When we are travelling by train or sitting at the airport, we sometimes ‘overhear' the conversation taking place between two people. We may not be really interested in what these people are saying, but because of their proximity or the loud manner in which they speak, we end up hearing what they are saying. When you overhear, it is not intentional. ‘Eavesdrop', on the other hand, suggests that you are keen on listening to the conversation taking place between two people without them being aware of it. It is usually a deliberate act; one that is sometimes planned ahead of time. The word has a negative connotation.
Be careful with Nandu. He has the habit of eavesdropping on other people's conversation.
I was sitting in the next room and I overheard everything you said.
Send this article to Friends by