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[slooth] /sluθ/
a bloodhound, a dog used for tracking.
verb (used with or without object)
to track or trail, as a detective.
Origin of sleuth
First recorded in 1875-80; short for sleuthhound
Related forms
sleuthlike, adjective
supersleuth, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sleuth
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was something very like the 194 sleuth in its attitude.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • Never was there a sleuth with his heart in his business as mine will be.

    In Apple-Blossom Time

    Clara Louise Burnham
  • All we've got to do now is to play the sleuth when he leaves the cabin.

  • There wa'n't any need to do the sleuth act after Marjorie got started.

    Torchy Sewell Ford
  • "This," says the sleuth, haulin' out of his pocket a bulgy envelope.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
British Dictionary definitions for sleuth


an informal word for detective
short for sleuthhound (sense 1)
(transitive) to track or follow
Word Origin
C19: short for sleuthhound, from C12 sleuth trail, from Old Norse sloth; see slot²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sleuth

c.1200, "track or trail of a person," from Old Norse sloð "trail," of uncertain origin. Meaning "detective" is 1872, shortening of sleuth-hound "keen investigator" (1849), a figurative use of a word that dates back to late 14c. meaning a kind of bloodhound. The verb (intransitive) meaning "to act as a detective, investigate" is recorded from 1905. Related: Sleuthed; sleuthing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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