sleuth

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old Norse slóð (Norwegian slo).

Noun[edit]

sleuth (plural sleuths)

  1. (obsolete) An animal’s trail or track.
  2. (archaic) A sleuth-hound; a bloodhound.
  3. A detective.
    • 1908, Edith Van Dyne (Frank L. Baum), Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Millville
      Do ye want me to become a sleuth, or engage detectives to track the objects of your erroneous philanthropy?
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Verb[edit]

sleuth (third-person singular simple present sleuths, present participle sleuthing, simple past and past participle sleuthed)

  1. (intransitive, transitive) To act as a detective; to try to discover who committed a crime.
    • 1922, Agatha Christie, The Secret Adversary
      We must discover where he lives, what he does — sleuth him, in fact!
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English slǣwþ, corresponding to slow + -th.

Noun[edit]

sleuth (plural sleuths)

  1. (obsolete, uncountable) Slowness; laziness, sloth.
  2. (rare) A collective term for a group of bears.
    • 1961, Noel Perrin, A Passport Secretly Green, p.89
      As quietly as if I were practicing to join a sleuth of bears, I crept out the door and went on home, eventually winding up in the garage…
    • 1995, Bobbie Ann Mason, The Girl Sleuth, p.13
      If these dainty adventurers weren’t being chased by a sleuth of bears or bogeys, they were being captured by Gypsies or thieves.
    • 2007, Elinor De Wire, The Lightkeepers’ Menagerie: Stories of Animals at Lighthouses, p.200
      From the darkness came the howls of routs of wolves and bands of coyotes, the rumbling growls of a sleuth of bears or the bugles of a gang of elk.
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