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See more synonyms for sleuth on Thesaurus.com
  1. a detective.
  2. a bloodhound, a dog used for tracking.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to track or trail, as a detective.
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Origin of sleuth

First recorded in 1875–80; short for sleuthhound
Related formssleuth·like, adjectivesu·per·sleuth, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sleuthing

examine, discover, snoop, scrutinize, case, sleuth, notice, glimpse, scout, trail, watch, spot, search, meddle, tail, observe, reconnoiter, shadow, pry, peep

Examples from the Web for sleuthing

Contemporary Examples of sleuthing

Historical Examples of sleuthing

  • “No future for you in this sleuthing business,” commented the old man tersely.


    Caroline Lockhart

  • But what is there to be sleuthing about in this sleepy little town of Sunnyside?

  • She did not want to be seen by 65 that other sleuthing person.

  • She and Chub spent every minute they could sleuthing the office as he called it.

    Joan of the Journal

    Helen Diehl Olds

  • “I may want to call on you for some sleuthing,” explained Mary Louise.

British Dictionary definitions for sleuthing


  1. an informal word for detective
  2. short for sleuthhound (def. 1)
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  1. (tr) to track or follow
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper