Spy Vocabulary

In my list of spy vocabulary you will find commonly used expressions to do with espionage and all things secret.

General Spy Vocabulary

double agent a person pretending to work as a spy for one government, while actually spying for another government
decoy something designed to divert the enemy’s attention
covert operation an operation planned in such a way that no one knows who sponsored or carried out the operation
intelligence the gathering or distribution of secret information
espionage spying
counter intelligence the activity of preventing the enemy from obtaining secret information
counter espionage spying aimed at an enemy's espionage system conspiracy
conspiracy an agreement by 2 or more people to commit a crime
classified information confidential or secret information
clandestine operation a secret operation not known about outside the necessary government circles
bug a secret listening or recording device
polygraph lie detector test
sleeper deep cover agent on a long term assignment
terminated assassinated


to stake out to keep under surveillance
your cover is blown you have been exposed as being a spy
to infiltrate to successfully place an agent inside the enemy's organisation
to conceal to hide
to overthrow to deliberately cause the end or downfall of a government


behind closed doors when something is done privately with no observers
to hold your tongue to stay silent and not say anything
to cover your tracks to hide or destroy evidence of what you have done
to be in the dark to be uninformed about something
to turn a blind eye to pretend not to notice what someone is doing
to be a fly on the wall to watch something without being noticed
to keep a low profile to not attract public attention
to keep a lid on something to control information so that others don’t find out about something
off the record information that is not to be repeated publicly

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to acquire

to go to town

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

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