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agent provocateur

Line breaks: agent pro|voca|teur
Pronunciation: /ˌaʒɒ̃ prəˌvɒkəˈtəː
, aʒɑ̃ pʀɔvɔkatøʀ/

Definition of agent provocateur in English:

noun (plural agents provocateurs pronounced same)

A person employed to induce others to break the law so that they can be convicted.
Example sentences
  • A year later, four were hanged, even as evidence emerged revealing that the bomb may have been thrown by an agent provocateur in the employ of the police.
  • These agents provocateurs broke windows and carried out other acts of violence before turning on the other demonstrators, firing their weapons and making arrests.
  • It employed agents provocateurs to lure people into unwise utterances.


late 19th century: French, literally 'provocative agent'.

Definition of agent provocateur in:

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