The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Espy \Es*py"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Espied; p. pr. & vb. n.
Espying.] [OF. espier, F. ['e]pier, from OHG. speh?n to
watch, spy, G. sp[aum]hen; akin to L. specere to look,
species sight, shape, appearance, kind. See Spice, Spy,
and cf. Espionage.]
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.
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.
Syn: To discern; discover; detect; descry; spy.