private investigator


Definition of private investigator

: a person not a member of a police force who is licensed to do detective work (such as investigation of suspected wrongdoing or searching for missing persons)

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Examples of private investigator in a Sentence

She hired a private investigator to follow her husband. the retired policeman decided to become a private investigator
Recent Examples on the Web Attorneys for Treem, Ravenell and private investigator Sean Gordon argue that the government is portraying a vigorous criminal defense by an experienced lawyer as something criminal. Justin Fenton,, "Attorneys cry foul over government’s secret recording of defense attorney’s meeting with drug boss," 31 Mar. 2021 With a helping hand from a private investigator, aspiring filmmaker and musician Payne Lindsey kicked off his show’s first season by rummaging through the Georgia town where beauty queen Tara Grinstead disappeared in 2005. Rebecca Lavoie, Vulture, "The 10 True-Crime Podcasts That Changed Everything," 24 Mar. 2021 People looking on Sunday included two of her brothers, a private investigator, and Alejandro Orpigoza, a member of a volunteer search and rescue group called the Armadillos, which helps locate people around the U.S./Mexico border. David Aaro, Fox News, "Experienced search and rescue volunteers join hunt for missing California mom," 2 Mar. 2021 Frank is a private investigator who looks into Lamar's suspicious case. Gieson Cacho, Star Tribune, "'Disjunction' adds stealth to satisfying cyberpunk tale," 24 Feb. 2021 Their protagonists—Henry Park, a Korean-American private investigator, and Doc Hata, a Japanese immigrant and veteran of the Second World War—are outsiders who move through white society, men well versed in concealment, dissembling, suppression. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, "Chang-rae Lee Lets Loose in “My Year Abroad”," 8 Feb. 2021 After landing a job with a curmudgeonly private investigator, a woman becomes determined to track down the boy who saved her life as a child and then disappeared. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘My Fair Lady’; ‘Marry Poppins’," 19 Mar. 2021 But back then, no one — not he, nor the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, the FBI, the State Attorney or even a private investigator — could do anything about the nabbed graphic novels or prove who was the nabber. Star Tribune, "Collectible comic book caper has happy ending," 19 Jan. 2021 Two prominent Maryland lawyers and a private investigator have been charged with conspiring to block a federal investigation into money laundering connected to a sprawling drug operation. Washington Post, "Today in D.C.: Headlines to start your Friday in D.C., Maryland and Virginia," 18 Dec. 2020

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

1940, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for private investigator

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The first known use of private investigator was in 1940

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Statistics for private investigator

Last Updated

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Private investigator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for private investigator

private investigator


English Language Learners Definition of private investigator

: someone who works as a detective and who is not a member of a police force

private investigator


Legal Definition of private investigator

: a person not a member of a police force who is licensed to do detective work (as investigation of suspected wrongdoing or searching for missing persons)

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