hawk·​shaw ˈhȯk-ˌshȯ How to pronounce hawkshaw (audio)

Did you know?

If you're a fan of mystery writing, you may have a favorite fictional detective. Perhaps it's Hercule Poirot (created by Agatha Christie), Lord Peter Wimsey (created by Dorothy L. Sayers), or Mike Hammer (created by Mickey Spillane). These and other famous sleuths from the mystery genre follow in the tradition of a fictional detective from the 19th century: Hawkshaw, a theatrical gumshoe introduced in the 1863 play The Ticket of Leave Man by British dramatist Tom Taylor. "Hawkshaw" gained further popularity as a general term for a detective when the name was used for a character in a comic strip by American cartoonist Gus Mager.

Examples of hawkshaw in a Sentence

the firm hired a hawkshaw to find out who was fencing stock from their warehouse

Word History


from Hawkshaw, detective in the play The Ticket of Leave Man (1863) by Tom Taylor

First Known Use

1888, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hawkshaw was in 1888


Dictionary Entries Near hawkshaw

Cite this Entry

“Hawkshaw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hawkshaw. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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