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

  • n. See private investigator.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A private personal detective, employed to gather information about someone.

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

  • n. someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information


From private investigator and its abbreviation P.I., through the homophonic term eye in place of "I", and the used of eye as a reference to survellience (Wiktionary)


  • My office suite was in the same building on the second floor, and from there I played private eye in between assignments from the OIA.


  • He may not've been the traditional private eye who tossed back Scotch on the job but this boy loved his beer.

    Mistress of Justice

  • Lauren Bacall’s telling the private eye played by Humphrey Bogart that he forgot one thing: “Me,” she says.


  • It was, however, considerably more popular and was used by every security, private eye or industrial espionage outfit that could afford the eight-thousand-dollar price tag.

    Mistress of Justice


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