Definition of private detective in English:

private detective

Line breaks: pri|vate de¦tect|ive
(also private investigator)


  • A freelance detective who carries out covert investigations on behalf of private clients.
    More 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, detective, operative; British enquiry agent
    informal private eye, PI, sleuth, snoop
    North American informal private dick, peeper, shamus, gumshoe
    informal , • dated hawkshaw, sherlock
    North American dated Pinkerton

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