Allan, 1819–84, U.S. detective, born in Scotland.
Contemporary Examples

This allowed him to deliver actual Confederate documents to Pinkerton, along with his observations.
Second ‘Underwear Bomber,’ Kim Philby, and Other Notorious Double Agents The Daily Beast May 9, 2012

From a season spent embedded with the New York Jets to a biography of a self-mythologizing Pinkerton detective.
This Week’s Hot Reads: Nov. 18, 2013 Thomas Flynn November 17, 2013

Historical Examples

I did not like to lose my own money; I hated to lose Pinkerton’s; and the bearing of my creditor incensed me.
The Wrecker Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

Where Madame Butterfly hears that Pinkerton’s ship has been sighted.
The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna

When Miss Pinkerton first saw it, she doubted whether leg or boy could be saved.
Across the Fruited Plain Florence Crannell Means

“I feel it my duty to save the town unnecessary expense,” said Deacon Pinkerton.
The Cash Boy Horatio Alger Jr.

The hated Pinkerton uniforms were torn off and cast into the river.
Homestead Arthur G. Burgoyne

She was at work in the kitchen when Deacon Pinkerton drove up.
The Cash Boy Horatio Alger Jr.

I thought I had never seen Mrs. Pinkerton appear to so good advantage as she did on this occasion.
That Mother-in-Law of Mine Anonymous

“No more spirit than she should have,” returned Miss Pinkerton.
Eventide Effie Afton

Allan. 1819–84, US private detective, born in Scotland. He founded the first detective agency in the US (1850) and organized an intelligence system for the Federal States of America (1861)

“semi-official detective,” 1888, from the detective agency begun in U.S. 1850 by Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884).


An operative or agent of the Pinkerton detective agency: how you suppose Pinkies get trainin’ (1850+)


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