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plainclothesman

or plain·clothes man

[pleyn-klohz-muh n, -man, -klohth z-]
noun, plural plain·clothes·men [pleyn-klohz-muh n, -men, -klohth z-] /ˈpleɪnˈkloʊz mən, -ˌmɛn, -ˈkloʊðz-/.
  1. a police officer, especially a detective, who wears ordinary civilian clothes while on duty.
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Origin of plainclothesman

First recorded in 1925–30; plain clothes + man1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for plainclothesman

Historical Examples

  • A plainclothesman put a stethoscope on the questionable case.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • The police sergeant and plainclothesman exchanged a quick glance.

  • The other plainclothesman came up to Sergeant Ketzel and Bending as they entered.

    Damned If You Don't

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • He lingered, but the plainclothesman was staring at the innocent, inviolable parcels about to leave the Embassy for distant parts.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • Yes, plainclothesman, wearing black hats; one of them had one of those Texas hats.

    Warren Commission (2 of 26): Hearings Vol. II (of 15)

    The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy