Definition of private detective in US English:

private detective

noun

  • another term for private investigator
    • ‘Robert puts his heart into all his undertakings, but so far he hasn't really come up with anything quite as sustaining as his wife's private detective agency.’
    • ‘But if you really believe that all of us have the right to control information about ourselves, shouldn't private detective work be per se illegal in the great majority of cases?’
    • ‘The girl's father and police think Barbara is dead, but private detective Dave Fenner is on the case tracking down the kidnappers.’
    • ‘Into this paradise lost, Carole, a brilliant lawyer turned private detective, is called to improve communications and help build roads.’
    • ‘The National Rugby League sent it's own private investigator to Coffs Harbour to examine claims of drunken behaviour by the players on the night in question.’
    • ‘When a slump goes on that long, judging it requires not a sportswriter, but a tag-team consisting of a psychiatrist, private detective and tarot-card reader.’
    • ‘Ed had some private investigator after him after we stayed at this one hotel.’
    • ‘They used their new identities to set up a perfectly mundane private investigator's service and stayed in business for many years.’
    • ‘He plays private detective to find out how the corporate crooks get away with it and what we can do to stop them.’
    • ‘The series, which follows the adventures of a single mother turned private investigator, also helped Wilson Wesley first strike gold in publishing.’
    • ‘He sent some private investigator to Miami and tracked me down.’
    • ‘Lila barely has a chance to fill Sam in when Arbogast, a fairly sleazy private detective, appears, having followed Lila from Phoenix.’
    • ‘The private detective sticks his head out of the train window as it pulls out of the busy urban station.’
    • ‘A former police officer turned private detective, he was hired to watch all the other guests on the Island.’
    • ‘Maybe he should resign and do some private detective work.’
    • ‘Your 21st century private investigator, in fact, is more likely to be trailing a man because he's skiving off work pretending to have a bad back than because he's a member of the drug-dealing local mafia who's blackmailing a client.’
    • ‘Yesterday one private investigator based in Gloucestershire claimed he had been approached by about a dozen parents desperate to explain their teenagers' erratic behaviour.’
    • ‘Effie Perine, secretary to private detective Sam Spade, opened his door to announce that a client, Miss Wonderly, was there to see him.’
    • ‘This international private investigator had a clear advantage over all the other interested groups; he worked for everyone.’
    • ‘Though I understood the attorney and private detective comparisons, any semblance to Erle Stanley Gardner's sleuthing duo ended there.’

Pronunciation

private detective

/ˈprīvit dəˈtektiv//ˈpraɪvɪt dəˈtɛktɪv/