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From Middle English spayen, spaien, from the Anglo-Norman espeier, equivalent to the Old French espeer (to cut with a sword), from espee (sword), whence the Modern French épée.

Middle English

From Middle Dutch speye; compare Middle Dutch spoye.


From Northern Middle English spā, from Old Norse spá (to foretell, prophesy), from Proto-Germanic *spahōną, *spēhōną (to observe), from Proto-Indo-European *speḱ- (to look). Cognate with Old High German spehōn (to peer, spy) (whence German spähen), Middle Dutch spien, spieden (to spy) (whence Dutch spieden). More at spy.