gum·​shoe | \ ˈgəm-ˌshü How to pronounce gumshoe (audio) \

Definition of gumshoe

 (Entry 1 of 2)


gumshoed; gumshoeing

Definition of gumshoe (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in detective work

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Examples of gumshoe in a Sentence

Noun the suspicious wife paid a gumshoe to follow her husband
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bertin and Forbes ditch most of the gumshoes, sending just a pair of them (Pauline, jut-jawed Brennan) on a fresh and equally loopy adventure. New York Times, "In These Elegant Comics, Love and Darkness Collide," 14 Feb. 2020 Mystery games give everyday gumshoes an opportunity to practice their sleuthing, or evade capture by role-playing the suspect. Popular Science, "Fun mystery games to help solve your boredom," 8 Apr. 2020 But there’s also enough that’s novel about the show’s cerebral gumshoes to keep viewers rapt, and likely hoping for more. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Vienna Blood’ Review: When Opposites Attract Attention," 16 Jan. 2020 But Blanche was probably the first fictional black maid to solve a murder while working for a wealthy white family, and to go on to become an avocational gumshoe in a series of books from a mainstream American publisher. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Barbara Neely, Activist Turned Mystery Writer, Dies at 78," 11 Mar. 2020 And, in the spirit of Philip Meyer, this talented team of reporters combined gumshoe reporting with scientific analysis. Mary Jo Pitzl, azcentral, "Republic garners national award for wildfire project that identified fire risk in the West," 16 Jan. 2020 The gumshoes at Eater PDX, already walking the Fieri beat, made hay out of an enigmatic post from Northeast 28th Avenue torta shop Güero, sniffing out a Fieri visit there as well. oregonlive, "Flavortown Mayor Guy Fieri spotted at Portland restaurants, Trail Blazer game," 16 Jan. 2020 Count on Japanese gumshoes to soon start setting their traps. Fortune, "Carlos Ghosn Is Now a Fugitive In Exile. Here Are His Legal Options, According to Experts," 10 Jan. 2020 For weeks, digital gumshoes trawled the Internet, building a case that a political operative who drove for Uber was working on behalf of the Russians. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "The Wild West of Online Political Operatives," 1 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gumshoe.' 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 gumshoe


1913, in the meaning defined above


1930, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for gumshoe

Time Traveler

The first known use of gumshoe was in 1913

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Statistics for gumshoe

Last Updated

30 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gumshoe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for gumshoe


How to pronounce gumshoe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gumshoe

US, informal + old-fashioned : a person whose job is to find information about someone or something : a private detective

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More from Merriam-Webster on gumshoe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gumshoe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gumshoe Encyclopedia article about gumshoe

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