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We speak of cowans and eavesdroppers but what is an eavesdropper and where did the word come from? Originally it meant to stand under the eavesdrop of anothers home. There one could listen covertly to conversations taking place inside the house. Today it takes on a broader definition of anyone listening in on any conversation without consent. Old Anglo-Saxon law punished eavesdroppers with a fine. In a masonic lodge it is the job of the tyler or outer guard to keep such people at bay.