1. (also gumboot, gumshoer) a private detective or police officer.
|[||Nat. Police Gaz. 6 Dec. 125/1: Gum Elastic Police.— We understand that this title has been substituted for that of ‘Star Police’ [...] Whether it arises from the fact of their having adopted India rubber coats and shoes as their winter uniform [etc]].|
|Little Citizens 127: The Associate Superindent for her vicinity was the Honourable Timothy O’Shea, known and dreaded as ‘Gum Shoe Tim,’ owing to his engaging way of creeping softly up back stairs and appearing all unheralded and unwelcome, upon the threshold of his intended victim.|
|Strictly Business (1915) 66: You’re a funny kind of sleuth. You must be one of the Central Office gumshoers.‘The Fifth Wheel’ in|
|Zone Policeman 88 158: Everything on wheels was free to the ‘gumshoe’ except the ‘yellow car’.|
|Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 26: He is known on the Road not only as ‘dick’ but [...] as ‘bull,’ ‘soft-shoe,’ ‘gum-shoe,’ an ‘elbow,’ a ‘flatty,’ or a ‘mug’.|
|Red Harvest (1965) 21: So you’re a gum-shoe [...] What do you want to know now?|
|Red Wind (1946) 77: Keep your paws off me, gumshoe!‘Blackmailers Don’t Shoot’ in|
|Really the Blues 131: We looked that gumshoe square in the eye.|
|Man with the Golden Arm 283: Evading fire dicks and gumboots, fingerprint experts and rookies in harness.|
|Playback 87: Don’t call me ‘sister’, you cheap gumshoe!|
|Big Rumble 137: ‘Guess we’ll never know, Mik,’ he sighed. ‘A wild goose chase. I’d make some gum-shoe.’.|
|Blue Messiah 197: The ‘gumshoers’—the Police Commissioner’s Confidential Squad, [...] was despised as deeply as the FBI.|
|Gumshoe (1998) 15: ginley’s the name / gumshoe’s the game.|
|Brown’s Requiem 20: As far as the IRS knows, I’m a starving gumshoe.|
|Evidence Exposed (1999) 159: No one had ever complained about some two-bit gumshoe nosing into his background.‘The Surprise of His Life’|
|Guardian G2 22 Feb. 16: The gumshoes are already on the case.|
|Hilliker Curse 14: An equal number of gumshoes were stalking my mother.|
2. (US, also gumshoer) a sneak thief or prowler.
|More Ex-Tank Tales 221: I thought you were a daylight gum-shoer for a minute.|
|Confessions of a Detective 33: One of Red Bob’s gang had crept upon me, gumshoe fashion, and dealt me a blow.|
|Keys to Crookdom 407: Gumshoe. One who sneaks.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Jungle Kids (1967) 106: Donleavy is playing the gumshoe, sneaking through the alley.‘See Him Die’ in|
3. in general use of sense 1, an authority.
|Sun (NY) 18 Oct. 11/1: The big ring gumshoes ought to take a mooch around and find out who’s grabbed it all.|
4. (US) a hanger-on.
|City of Spades (1964) 153: These ain’t no stage-door gumshoes, they’re my friends.|
1. a sneak thief, a street robber.
|Tales of the Ex-Tanks 352: I had got mine just outside his place by a couple of gumshoe artists.|
|Judith Of Blue Lake Ranch 299: [She’ll] make a great little gumshoe artist one of these days.|
2. (US) a plain-clothes detective.
|Under Cover Man 61: Aw, he looks like a gumshoe artist to me.|
|Teacher’s Manual for Military [...] Training 112: It is not necessary to be a gumshoe artist. It is prudent to cultivate the habit of watching the class as a whole.|
|About Face 172: Some gumshoe artist was fiddling around and suddenly our numbers were on the vehicle.|
1. a private detective.
|Criminal Sl. 11: Gumshoe worker—A private detective; a spotter.|
2. a sneak thief.
|(con. c.1900) AS X:1 (Feb.) gum, gumshoe or gumshoe worker. 1. A burglar or sneak thief. 2 a stool pigeon.|
|DAUL 88/1: Gumshoe-worker, n. (Obsolete) A sneak thief.et al.|
3. an informer.
|see sense 2.|