Definition of private investigator in English:

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private investigator

Pronunciation: /ˈprīvit inˈvestəˌɡādər/
(also private detective)


A freelance detective who carries out investigations on behalf of private clients.
Example sentences
  • Behind the scenes, private investigators are doing covert surveillance for government agencies and the insurance industry, or tracing people to serve court orders.
  • We as a municipality then continued our investigation by appointing a private investigator.
  • It remains unclear how much information the government has about his actions and whether the lawyers and clients who retained the private investigator knew of any wiretapping.
private investigator
informal private eye, PI, sleuth, snoop, shamus, gumshoe
informal,, dated private dick

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pri·vate in·ves·ti·ga·tor

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