detective

adjective
de·​tec·​tive | \di-ˈtek-tiv \

Definition of detective 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fitted for or used in detecting something had perfected his detective sensibilities

2 : of or relating to detectives or their work a detective novel

detective

noun

Definition of detective (Entry 2 of 2)

: one employed or engaged in detecting lawbreakers or in getting information that is not readily or publicly accessible

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Other Words from detective

Adjective

detectivelike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of detective in a Sentence

Adjective

We had to do some detective work to find out who used to own the property. He enjoys reading detective novels.

Noun

She is a detective on the police force. Detective Sgt. Lee is working on the case. She hired a detective to follow her husband.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Unlike most detective series, which rely on the bleakness of their protagonists’ lives, Sjöwall and Wahlöö allowed their detective a journey of enlightenment and redemptive love. Alice Bolin, Longreads, "The Daughter as Detective," 26 June 2018 Pat was a voracious reader, devouring everything from detective novels to biographies, and was extremely appreciative of the Windsor Public Library. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Patricia Alves," 21 June 2018 Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg have set their next project with Netflix movie Wonderland, an adaptation from Robert B. Parker's detective novel series. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg Reteam for 'Wonderland' at Netflix," 26 June 2018 In the latest installment, Gonzales highlights Rhode Island Red, a detective novel written by Charlotte Carter. Danielle Jackson, Longreads, "Series Exhumes Out-of-Print Books by Black Authors," 14 June 2018 Well, Westworld is a puzzle, and so self-aware about that fact that the rollout for Season 2 featured an elaborate tease for the show’s Redditor-detective fan base involving rickrolling and 21 minutes of a dog sitting at a piano. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Promethean Puzzles of Westworld," 22 Apr. 2018 Anyone with information is asked to call the Akron Police Department's detective bureau at 330-375-2490. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "Akron man fatally shot in city's Middlebury neighborhood," 17 Apr. 2018 By then the Millars had settled in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Kenneth had begun writing detective novels too, eventually using the pen name Ross Macdonald. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "‘Collected Millar’ Review: She Kept Us in Suspense," 13 Apr. 2018 Anyone with information about the truck or the man is asked to call the police department detective bureau at 203-254-4840 or text ‘FPD’ plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). Christine Dempsey, courant.com, "Fairfield Police: Watch For "Stocky" Knifepoint Robber," 2 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While investigating the incident, a Harford County Sheriff’s Office detective saw two females matching that of Jones and Jean-Pierre walking along Dublin School road toward the school parking lot. Erika Butler, The Aegis, "Two girls, 16, charged in connection with Harford attempted carjacking," 29 May 2018 Citywide Shooting detectives ask anyone with information to call 410-396-2221 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7lockup. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Police: 33-year-old man shot in eye, arm, leg," 15 July 2018 Around noon Friday, two detectives were looking at cameras on the 1700 block of Chancellor, which has at least six cameras facing the street. Philly.com, "Philadelphia developer stabbed to death near Rittenhouse Square," 13 July 2018 Green and her husband reported the crime, then did a little detective work of their own and discovered the car parked in an apartment complex about a mile and a half away on Tuesday. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "Family tracks down car stolen with keys left inside, finds stolen goods in it," 12 July 2018 Unpacking the mystery involved some cunning detective work from a coalition of scientists at Boston University and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Lucy Cooke, Washington Post, "The batty, explosive history of bats in the military — and why this new idea just might work," 2 July 2018 Despite the detective work regarding where the sample came from, many fans have remained on the fence regarding the clip. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "The Light Is Coming" Contains a Vocal Sample With a Hidden Political Meaning," 21 June 2018 Even after all of this crafty detective work, though, much of the larger mystery remained. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "Newly Unearthed Civil War Bones Speak Silently to the Grim Aftermath of Battle," 20 June 2018 While MacLean hasn’t been sentenced yet for that crime yet, the focus turned to the second charge and the cold case detective work that led to it. Marc Freeman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "'Superthief' back on trial in 1977 Boca rape; 'I was scared to death,' victim testifies," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detective.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of detective

Adjective

1732, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1849, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for detective

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for detective

The first known use of detective was in 1732

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More Definitions for detective

detective

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of detective

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: done in order to find out hidden or unknown information

: of or relating to crimes and detectives

detective

noun

English Language Learners Definition of detective (Entry 2 of 2)

: a police officer whose job is to find information about crimes that have occurred and to catch criminals

: a person whose job is to find information about something or someone

detective

noun
de·​tec·​tive | \di-ˈtek-tiv \

Kids Definition of detective

1 : a police officerwho investigates crimes and catches criminals

2 : a person whose job is to find information about someone or something

detective

noun
de·​tec·​tive

Legal Definition of detective 

: a person engaged or employed in detecting lawbreakers or in getting information that is not readily or publicly accessible a police detective hired a private detective

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Comments on detective

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