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

The family kept searching for answers, even hiring a private investigator to try to solve the mystery of what happened, Martin Cohen said., "Iraqi War vet who fatally beat Portland man and burned his body gets 15 years in prison," 6 June 2019 Wilson eventually moved to Arizona and worked as a private investigator. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Arizona Senate candidate who fatally shot his mom decades ago argues for gun rights for self-defense," 19 July 2018 And aside from Cagney & Lacey, CBS is looking at a remake of Magnum P.I. with Jay Hernandez taking over Tom Selleck's lead role as a private investigator in Hawaii. Jenny Cohen, USA TODAY, "Network TV trends for fall: More diversity, more cops, more remakes," 16 Mar. 2018 Her most recent book is Everyday Madness. (May 2019) Anne Diebel works as a private investigator in New York. James Fenton, The New York Review of Books, "Contents," 9 May 2019 Steele was gathering information about Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. Author: Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Nicholas Fandos, Anchorage Daily News, "A secret mission, a code name and anxiety: Inside the early days of the FBI’s Trump investigation," 2 Feb. 2018 From Disney Princess to America's favorite private investigator, there really isn't anything Kristen Bell can't do. Maddie Hiatt, House Beautiful, "6 Important Things I Learned About Kristen Bell's Home," 6 May 2019 Today clients looking for a private investigator have more sophisticated options. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019 Greitens' defense team has particularly focused on the prosecutor's hiring of a private investigator, William Tisaby, whom Greitens' lawyers have accused of perjury. CBS News, "Prosecutors drop invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens," 14 May 2018

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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Statistics for private investigator

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for private investigator

The first known use of private investigator was in 1940

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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)

More from Merriam-Webster on private investigator

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for private investigator

Spanish Central: Translation of private investigator

Comments on private investigator

What made you want to look up private investigator? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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