private investigator

noun

: 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)

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 The actor later hired a private investigator and alleges that Brunson attempted to have his bail revoked and that the district attorney's office prevented Gatt and the investigator from presenting their findings on the investigation's flaws in court. Taijuan Moorman, USA TODAY, 5 Apr. 2024 Howard told me that Pecker had spent thousands of dollars to buy the file from a private investigator. Lachlan Cartwright, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 Authorities are gathering a team of fire investigators from the Clinton Township Fire Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Michigan State Police, as well as private investigators. Kylie Martin, Detroit Free Press, 8 Mar. 2024 Representatives for Combs did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday about the private investigator allegation. Rebecca Cohen, NBC News, 4 Mar. 2024 According to a New San Diego campaign disclosure, the private investigator who surveilled Turner was paid for by the committee but hired by Ryan Clumpner, a political consultant who also serves as vice chair of the San Diego Housing Commission. Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Feb. 2024 The morning Zac’s body was identified, the private investigator the Brettlers had hired, Clive Strong, visited Sharma at Riverwalk. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 Sean Crowley, a former captain with the NYPD, is now a private investigator. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 12 Mar. 2024 Court files show the county hired private investigators to surveil Myles, videotaping him and his lawyers in a possible effort to dig up dirt or induce a settlement. Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'private investigator.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of private investigator was in 1940

Dictionary Entries Near private investigator

Cite this Entry

“Private investigator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/private%20investigator. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

private investigator

noun
: a person who does detective work and is not a member of a police force

Legal Definition

private investigator

noun
: 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)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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