1. To catch sight of; to perceive with the eyes; to discover, as a distant object partly concealed, or not obvious to notice; to see at a glance; to discern unexpectedly; to spy; as to espy land; to espy a man in a crowd. “As one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, … he espied his money.” Gen. xlii. 27. “
A goodly vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad.” Wordsworth.
2. To inspect narrowly; to examine and keep watch upon; to watch; to observe. “He sends angels to espy us in all our ways.” Jer. Taylor. Syn. — To discern; discover; detect; descry; spy.