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private eye

noun, Slang.
1.
a private detective.
Origin
1935-1940
1935-40; eye, allusive phonetic rendering of I, abbreviation of investigator
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for private eye
  • The big question now is who will play the roguish private eye as he tackles cases no one else wants to handle.
  • He declined to return phone calls, and slammed the door in the face of the private eye they'd hired to track him down.
  • His iconoclastic and likable private eye survives every crisis thrown his way.
  • Any private eye or vandal can buy your mobile-phone records.
British Dictionary definitions for private eye

private eye

noun
1.
(informal) a private detective
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
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Slang definitions & phrases for private eye

private dick

noun phrase

A private detective; a private investigator; pi (entry form 1908+, variant 1938+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with private eye

private eye

A privately employed detective, as opposed to one working for the police or another authority. For example, The children loved stories about private eyes, and Janey wanted to become one. This expression comes from the term private investigator, the “i” of investigator being changed to “eye,” which plays on the idea of a person looking into things. [ 1930s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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