[shah-muhs, shey-]
noun, plural shamuses. Slang.
a detective.
a police officer.

1925–30; of obscure origin, though popularly derived from either Yiddish shames shammes or the Irish male given name Séamas Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shamus (ˈʃɑːməs, ˈʃeɪ-)
n , pl -muses
slang (US) a police or private detective
[probably from shammes, influenced by Irish Séamas James]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"police officer, detective," 1925, probably from Yiddish, lit. "sexton of a synagogue," from Heb. shamash "servant;" influenced by Celt. Seamus "James," as a typical name for an Irish cop.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

sham(m)us definition

  1. n.
    a police officer or a detective. (Probably from Yiddish.) : One thing that a shamus always knows is when another shamus is following him.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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