Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A detective.
  • intransitive verb To track or follow.
  • intransitive verb To act as a detective.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A track or trail of man or beast; scent.
  • noun A newspaper name for a detective.
  • noun A Middle English form of sloth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Scot. The track of man or beast as followed by the scent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete, uncountable Slowness; laziness, sloth.
  • noun rare A collective term for a group of bears.
  • noun obsolete An animal’s trail or track.
  • noun archaic A sleuth-hound; a bloodhound.
  • noun A detective.
  • verb intransitive, transitive To act as a detective; to try to discover who committed a crime.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a detective who follows a trail
  • verb watch, observe, or inquire secretly

Etymologies

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

[Short for sleuthhound.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old Norse slóð (Norwegian slo).

Examples

Comments

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  • A group of bears

    November 16, 2007

  • Someone I work with uses this as a verb, indiscriminately, to refer to any sort of investigation or research activity, covert or overt, and for some reason this irks me.

    October 22, 2008

  • "Jane and I have been doing a bit of sleuthing" was a line from the Marple TV program...though of course they were investigating a real murder. "I'm sleuthing for my keys", say, is irksome indeed.

    if you're not a filthy yod-dropper, this word represents a unique s-initial onset cluster in English, one that isn't str/l-, skr/l- or spr/l-

    August 3, 2009

  • Quite likely the ugliest goddamn word ever. I hate it even more than I hate "moist."

    February 29, 2016