detective

adjective
de·​tec·​tive | \ di-ˈtek-tiv How to pronounce detective (audio) \

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 \ di-​ˈtek-​tiv-​ˌlīk How to pronounce detectivelike (audio) \ 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 Among those units are the department’s administration, police academy, property storage unit, SWAT team, detective bureaus, community engagement teams and motorcycle and bicycle units. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Plan to build Cleveland police headquarters along Opportunity Corridor in Kinsman clears hurdle," 21 Jan. 2020 According to The Hollywood Reporter, writer-director Rian Johnson is working on a sequel to his amazing whodunit Knives Out with an eye toward centering the film on Daniel Craig’s detective character, Benoit Blanc. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "The Golden Globes Mostly Shut Out Apple TV+ and Netflix," 6 Jan. 2020 Miller’s narcotics detective character joins the hunt, at the orders of a tough-as-nails NYPD precinct captain played by J.K. Simmons. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘21 Bridges’: Chadwick Boseman takes Manhattan and on the whole, I’d rather be in Wakanda," 21 Nov. 2019 For six seasons, Blackthorne starred as Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Sara (Caity Lotz) Lance’s detective father who eventually went on to join Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in the mayor’s office and succeeded Oliver as Star City’s mayor. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "Arrow alum Paul Blackthorne returning for multiple final season episodes," 4 Nov. 2019 The investigation is being handled by the major crimes detective unit. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "A synagogue in Michigan found anti-Semitic posters on its door," 15 Oct. 2019 Then-police Superintendent Garry McCarthy at the time said the changes would save the city millions, though other specialized police units, including fugitive and gang teams, went on to use the two old area detective facilities. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, "Mayor Lori Lightfoot to reopen detective bureaus, put 151 cops back on street under new plan," 11 Oct. 2019 Written and directed by Jacob Estes, Don’t Let Go pairs Reid with fellow DuVernay collaborator David Oyelowo as a niece and detective uncle both helping each other prevent the other’s death in what seems to be different timelines. Marcus Jones, EW.com, "Storm Reid talks about her new Blumhouse film Don't Let Go, and teases Euphoria Season 2," 29 Aug. 2019 The trooper, who is 56-years-old and assigned to a State Police detective unit, was not hospitalized, State Police spokesman David Procopio wrote in an e-mail. Amanda Kaufman, BostonGlobe.com, "State Police trooper injured, driver hospitalized after crash in Dorchester," 9 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The first season of Gimlet’s Conviction podcast focused on Manny Gomez, a private eye in the Bronx, who’s search for truth in the face of entrenched corruption, turned the noir tradition of the hardboiled detective on its head. Leah Carroll, refinery29.com, "He Accused His Father Of Satanic Abuse. But What Really Happened?," 29 Jan. 2020 Watching cop shows always requires a certain suspension of disbelief: the detective who, armed with a few vague details, sifts through tens of thousands of records in a matter of seconds to pinpoint a single car to her team. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Bingeing on Cop Propaganda," 28 Jan. 2020 Since IQ’s eponymous debut three years ago, his cases have become more complex, the stakes raised for the African American detective and a cast of regular characters who give the series an unexpected warmth and reflect the author’s admiration for . Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Dark times in East Long Beach as Joe Ide’s IQ series returns," 24 Jan. 2020 The Prospero of the piece is Mr. Grant’s Fletcher, the dirty detective. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘The Gentlemen’: Blithe Thuggery With Flair to Spare," 23 Jan. 2020 The detective pulled Carter over near Newport Drive and Pendleton Pike. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "Court documents say fatal Lawrence crash caused by man mistaken for shooting suspect," 7 Jan. 2020 Weinstein’s lawyers had hoped to call the detective and grill him on the lapses in the investigation. Jan Ransom, BostonGlobe.com, "Film producer Harvey Weinstein is charged with rape in Los Angeles as his trial begins in New York," 6 Jan. 2020 Or the one about the Motor City police detective who gives La La Land a lesson in crime-fighting? Freep.com, "Michigan's Greatest Movies: Who won, Eddie Murphy, Clint Eastwood or Eminem?," 5 Jan. 2020 Nashville detectives later tracked down Officer Reynolds, and Ms. Halliburton and her sons identified him from a photo array. Ed Shanahan, New York Times, "An Officer Admitted Making a Racist Threat. He Still Has a Job.," 31 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for detective

Time Traveler

The first known use of detective was in 1732

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Statistics for detective

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Detective.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/detective. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for detective

detective

adjective
How to pronounce detective (audio)

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 How to pronounce detective (audio) \

Kids Definition of detective

1 : a police officer who 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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