Definition of gumshoe in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡəmˌSHo͞o/


North American informal
A detective.
Example sentences
  • He wasn't the gumshoe, the private eye, the detective of the forties in the black and white noir.
  • As he slowly recovers, he imagines scenes from his first novel, The Singing Detective, with himself as the lead character, a gumshoe who croons on the side.
  • In a 1940s-style apartment befitting a film noir gumshoe, a Montreal private eye shows off a collection of futuristic gizmos spread over his kitchen table.


Early 20th century: from gumshoes in the sense 'sneakers', suggesting stealth.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gum·shoe

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