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

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 Named for the late star’s car-chasing 1968 detective thriller of that title, the hotel calls itself no-frills, but the design is fun and stylish. New York Times, "In Belfast, a Hotel Inspired by a Steve McQueen Movie," 24 Feb. 2018 Hanover Square Press will publish their debut detective novel, First Cut, in 2019. Dr. Judy Melinek, Vox, "The NRA told doctors to “stay in your lane” on guns. I’m a doctor. This is my lane.," 12 Nov. 2018 Among this week's half-dozen Paperback Picks is the 20th Harry Bosch detective novel and a nonfiction account of 10,000 American women who, during wartime, learned to break German and Japanese military codes. Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times, "Paperback Picks: books by Roddy Doyle, Lisa Halliday and more," 15 Oct. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Cameron served in law enforcement for nearly 30 years in roles varying from SWAT officer to detective. Anchorage Daily News, "Fun things to do in Anchorage this week: Wakanda Ball and an adults-only night at the museum," 13 Sep. 2019 The department has also set up an online complaint form specifically for victims to get in contact with detectives, which can be found at azdps.gov/Jackson. Nicole Soto, USA TODAY, "Arizona state trooper arrested on 61 counts of sex abuse, kidnapping and harassment," 11 Sep. 2019 For those officers with consistent trauma exposures, such as homicide detectives, these checks are annual. NBC News, "How this police department is fighting for its officers' mental health after suicides," 10 Sep. 2019 There’s also Sorry to Bother You’s Lakeith Stanfield as a low-key police detective, and Daniel Craig as the fancy private P.I. brought in under special, anonymous circumstances to audit the investigation. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "All-star murder mystery Knives Out is a bloody clever good time," 10 Sep. 2019 Information about the account was obtained and provided to detectives for their follow up investigation. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 9 Sep. 2019 The growing wave of vigilante violence includes a mob assault of two detectives (Shea Whigham and Bill Camp), left in critical condition. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Joker': Film Review | Venice 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 The department told Fox News that Tiana Thomas, 19, who was wanted in connection with the Aug. 19 attack, surrendered herself to Philadelphia homicide detectives Friday evening. Fox News, "Pennsylvania woman, 19, wanted in stabbings of 2 sisters turns herself in, faces murder charge: police," 29 Aug. 2019 Chief Mike Walker said a telephone tip to detectives led to Shackelford’s identity as a suspect. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Porsche Cayenne stolen from Gardendale found in Mississippi; Mobile man jailed on theft charge," 27 Aug. 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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Statistics for detective

Last Updated

31 Aug 2019

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 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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Comments on detective

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