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 field’s most famous cautionary tale is that of Anthony Pellicano, a Hollywood private investigator whose client list in the early 2000s included Creative Artists boss Michael Ovitz and the action film star Steven Seagal. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Much Does It Cost to Keep Your Name Out of the News?," 18 Jan. 2019 Glass had been questioned about the boy’s disappearance and death and was arrested on May 24 after leading a private investigator to Lucas’ body under a bridge in rural Harvey County, according to police. Jeff Truesdell,, "Stepmom Dies in Apparent Suicide After Leading Investigator to Body of Missing 5-Year-Old Kansas Boy," 8 June 2018 The Catholic Church is hiring private investigators to find Paredes, Burns said. Fox News, "Texas priest disappears amid molestation allegations," 21 Aug. 2018 Greitens' attorneys, meanwhile, ratcheted up claims of misconduct by the prosecution team, making a complaint to St. Louis police alleging perjury by a private investigator hired by the circuit attorney's office. David A. Lieb And Summer Ballentine,, "Lawmakers press Missouri governor investigation despite dropped criminal case," 15 May 2018 After she was acquitted of child endangerment in an unrelated case involving her own daughter, Glass led the private investigator to Lucas' body. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Autopsy: Woman killed self after revealing stepson’s decomposed body," 28 June 2018 The parents of a Guilford teenager who died of a gunshot wound at a friend’s house have filed a lawsuit against the private investigator renting the home, alleging the tenant’s failure to properly store a gun led to their son’s death. Matthew Kauffman,, "Lawsuit Filed In Death Of Guilford Teen Shot With Gun Found At Friend's House," 12 Apr. 2018 Joseph begs, borrows, and steals to come up with the money for legal defense and private investigators. Joelle Monique, Teen Vogue, ""If Beale Street Could Talk" Highlights the Power of Love in a World Designed for Black People to Fail," 9 Jan. 2019 Also seeking Naji is private investigator Paul Samson, an ex-MI6 agent who speaks fluent Arabic and who was himself once a refugee. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: Reimposing Order on the Moral Universe," 28 Sep. 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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Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

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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)

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for private investigator

Spanish Central: Translation of private investigator

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