Definition of detective noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈtektɪv//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈtektɪv//
    (abbreviation Det) The police, Solving crime
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  1. 1a person, especially a police officer, whose job is to examine crimes and catch criminals Detective Inspector (Roger) Brown detectives from the anti-terrorist squad a detective story/novel see also store detective Wordfinderarrest, charge, cordon, detain, detective, interrogate, plain clothes, police, raid, undercover See related entries: The police, Solving crime
  2. 2a person employed by somebody to find out information about somebody/something see also private detective
  3. Word Originmid 19th cent.: from detect. The noun was originally short for detective policeman, from an adjectival use of the word in the sense ‘serving to detect’.Extra examples She hired a private detective to follow her husband. Sherlock Holmes was Conan Doyle’s fictional detective. The store detective was keeping a close eye on a suspected shoplifter. Thomson was the lead detective in the Ramsay case. We are going to have to do some detective work on this. detectives investigating the case A team of around 30 detectives and uniformed officers have been working on the case. Detective Sergeant John Nelson He was arrested in Spain by Scotland Yard detectives. Several objects were taken away by detectives from the anti-terrorist squad.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: detective