from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One who ‘taps’ a telegraph-wire, that is, reads by illicit means the messages passing over it; also, one who, for fraudulent purposes, professes to have secured private information in this way.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
He was a good little runner, and he done his best; but when I breasted the tape I won a quick-claim deed to his loose change, to a brand-new office over a drug-store, and to enough nickel-plated pliers for a wire-tapper.
He recalled his chance meeting with MacNutt, the wire-tapper, and their partnership of privateer forces in that strange campaign against Penfield, the alert and opulent poolroom king, who had seemed always able to defy the efforts and offices of a combative and equally alert district-attorney.
John Larsen, a well-known "wire-tapper," arrested some dozen times within a year or two for similar offences.
Had you passed him in that neighborhood you would have set him down as a wire-tapper, a racing tout, a would-be actor.
"wire-tapper" successfully prosecuted his victim (after he had trimmed him) upon a charge of grand larceny arising out of the same transaction.
Here I can sit in my wireless room with this ear-phone clamped over my head drinking in news, plucking the secrets of others from the sky -- in other words, this is eavesdropping by a wireless wire-tapper. "
I thought he was a wire-tapper, working a con game! "