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[slooth] /sluθ/
a bloodhound, a dog used for tracking.
verb (used with or 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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why, returned sleuth instantly, I just said I came round to make you a little call.

  • There was something very like the 194 sleuth in its attitude.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
  • Not likely, after you and your sleuth hounds had been over the ground!

    Simon J. Storer Clouston
  • "This," says the sleuth, haulin' out of his pocket a bulgy envelope.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
  • Bernardet bowed and his eyes shone like those of a sleuth hound on the scent of his prey.

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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