[ slooth ]
/ sluθ /


a detective.
a bloodhound, a dog used for tracking.

verb (used with or without object)

to track or trail, as a detective.

Nearby words

  1. slenderly,
  2. slenderness ratio,
  3. slept,
  4. slesvig,
  5. sleswick,
  6. sleuthhound,
  7. sleuthing,
  8. slew,
  9. slew rate,
  10. slewed

Origin of sleuth

First recorded in 1875–80; short for sleuthhound

Related formssleuth·like, adjectivesu·per·sleuth, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sleuthing

British Dictionary definitions for sleuthing


/ (sluːθ) /


an informal word for detective


(tr) to track or follow

Word Origin for sleuth

C19: short for sleuthhound, from C12 sleuth trail, from Old Norse sloth; see slot ²

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

Word Origin and History for sleuthing



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