(redirected from shamuses)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


 (shä′məs, shā′-)
n. Slang
1. A police officer.
2. A private investigator.

[Perhaps from the common Irish name Séamus, James (from the many Irish Americans who traditionally served on American police forces ), or from shammes (the duties of a detective being likened to those of a shamash ).]


(ˈʃɑːməs; ˈʃeɪ-)
n, pl -muses
slang US a police or private detective
[probably from shammes, influenced by Irish Séamas James]


(ˈʃɑ məs, ˈʃeɪ-)

n., pl. -mus•es. Slang.
1. a private detective.
2. a police officer.
[1925–30; of obscure orig.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.shamus - someone who can be employed as a detective to collect informationshamus - someone who can be employed as a detective to collect information
detective - an investigator engaged or employed in obtaining information not easily available to the public
hotel detective, house detective, house dick - a private detective employed by a hotel or retail store
inquiry agent - a private detective
store detective - a private detective employed by a merchant to stop pilferage
References in periodicals archive ?
But rude attempts at insult and intimidation pale in comparison to how some shameless shamuses perform crucial security duties.
Trolling around in the shadowy basements of our pysches and societies, the best of these lonely shamuses try to unmask the nature of evil itself.