a detective who is not a member of an official force but is employed by private parties.
Origin of private detective
First recorded in 1865–70
Also called private investigator.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for private detectivedetective, gumshoe, sleuth, eye, inspector, investigator, operative, PI, beagle, dick, flatfoot, sleuthhound, spotter, tec
an individual privately employed to investigate a crime, keep watch on a suspected person, or make other inquiriesAlso called: private investigator
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