a detective who is not a member of an official force but is employed by private parties.
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Also called private investigator.
Origin of private detective
First recorded in 1865–70
Words nearby private detective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
British Dictionary definitions for private detective
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