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 Years later, Scott was able to persuade a private investigator named Eric Cullen to track down one of the eyewitnesses who had identified him and his friend as the killers. NBC News, "Malcolm Scott, wrongfully convicted of murder, hopes to see shift in wake of George Floyd protests," 19 June 2020 The spinoff comics follow his adventures as a private investigator. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "A detective hunts a costumed vigilante in Major Grom: Plague Doctor trailer," 4 June 2020 The circumstances around Sharif's disappearance – and now death – remain a mystery after efforts by the FBI and a private investigator hired by the family found few clues. Fox News, "Body of Iowa 18-year-old found by kayakers 5 months after he mysteriously vanished from Target," 5 May 2020 In the letter, Klein said that a juror at the trial, who initially dissented during jury polling, spoke with a private investigator after the trial. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oconomowoc man sentenced to prison for giving heroin to a friend who then fatally overdosed," 4 May 2020 These platforms collect publicly available information about everybody and will sell that data to businesses, advertisers and private investigators. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "10 tech spring cleaning tips for the quarantine era," 17 Apr. 2020 One of the more outlandish moments of the proceeding came when the government called to the stand a New Orleans private investigator turned Kentucky real-estate agent named Ryan Willis. Francesca Mari, The Atlantic, "The Oil Spill, the Tort Lawyer, and the Clients Who Didn’t Exist," 16 Apr. 2020 Terriers’ An ex-cop and his criminal friend team up as private investigators in this smart procedural. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "Binge These One-Season Wonders," 27 Mar. 2020 There is no indication funds were spent on private investigators. Jake Bernstein, The New York Review of Books, "The Fundraising Pulpit," 8 Apr. 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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The first known use of private investigator was in 1940

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Statistics for private investigator

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Private investigator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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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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Spanish Central: Translation of private investigator

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