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[slooth] /sluθ/
a bloodhound, a dog used for tracking.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to track or trail, as a detective.
Origin of sleuth
1875-80; short for sleuthhound
Related forms
sleuthlike, adjective
supersleuth, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sleuth
  • Play a sleuth with your portrait detective and historian guides.
  • Each series is easily identifiable, and finding a missing piece satisfies every buyer's inner sleuth.
  • Often, identifying the rampart in satellite images requires a degree of sleuth work.
  • Judging by what happens here the plight of a romantically inclined sleuth is not precisely enviable.
  • He takes on a case, awakening a stirring in his cream-filled soul, and opens a sideline as a sleuth.
  • They'll bring out the sleuth in you if it's not already there.
British Dictionary definitions for sleuth


an informal word for detective
short for sleuthhound (sense 1)
(transitive) to track or follow
Word Origin
C19: short for sleuthhound, from C12 sleuth trail, from Old Norse sloth; see slot²
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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Word Origin and History for sleuth

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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