Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A police officer.
  • n. Slang A private investigator.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A private detective.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Perhaps from the Irish name Seamus, James.

Examples

Comments

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  • 'The cop said, "Your Dad's been hurt, girlie. He's hurt real bad." He wasn't like a shamus now; he was more like the sort of man who might have a daughter himself.'

    - Nightmare Alley, William Lindsay Gresham

    June 30, 2012

  • 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.

    October 3, 2007

  • The Big Sleep

    February 14, 2007