Definition of agent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈeɪdʒ(ə)nt/


1A person who acts on behalf of another person or group: in the event of illness, a durable power of attorney enabled her nephew to act as her agent
More example sentences
  • You stated that the immigration officer did ask you questions but you were given instructions by the agent and the agent replied on your behalf.
  • This has been confirmed to me by the legal agent acting on my behalf.
  • The mining company will host an international meeting for all agents involved in the handling and transportation of its copper and cobalt up to the final destination.
representative, negotiator, business manager, emissary, envoy, factor, go-between, proxy, surrogate, trustee, liaison, broker, delegate, spokesperson, spokesman, spokeswoman, frontman, mouthpiece
informal rep
1.1A person who manages business, financial, or contractual matters for an actor, performer, writer, etc. his agent was able to negotiate a long-term contract
More example sentences
  • By that time, I was in the sort of semi-media business as an agent handling writers.
  • The role of the publisher could change markedly and perhaps be collapsed into that of the writers and their business managers and agents.
  • Actors, agents and managers go home happy with a tasty 10-15% of their clients' payday.
1.2A person or company that provides a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties: speak to your letting agent about refurbishing the property
More example sentences
  • From a product manufacturer's viewpoint, there continues to be a growing need to provide value-added services to agents.
  • Another service such agents provide is a temporary loan.
  • Some mobile service agents will also provide you with a replacement mobile phone while yours is being repaired.
agency, business, organization, company, firm, office, bureau, concern, service
1.3A person who works secretly to obtain information for a government or other official body: a trained intelligence agent
More example sentences
  • As a private attorney, he works without charge to help hundreds of intelligence agents obtain lawful permission to declassify and publish the hidden secrets of our times.
  • But without the information from FBI intelligence agents, his grand jury didn't have enough evidence to return indictments.
  • The Interior Ministry will also command a domestic intelligence network made up largely of secret police and intelligence agents from the ousted government.
spy, secret agent, undercover agent, operative, fifth columnist, Mata Hari
informal mole, spook, snooper, G-man
archaic intelligencer, beagle, lurcher
2A person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect: universities are usually liberal communities that often view themselves as agents of social change
More example sentences
  • Though not always the makers of art, their role as agents in the shaping of dynamic artistic cultures was vital and remains poorly understood.
  • It would be useful for future studies to explore the role of other sociocultural agents, such as schools and teachers, in influencing attitudes and behaviors.
  • In addition, our study contributes to a greater understanding of newly appointed CEOs in their roles as change agents.
medium, means, instrument, vehicle;
power, force
2.1A substance that brings about a chemical or physical effect or causes a chemical reaction: there is an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents to combat infections the bleaching agent used is hydrogen peroxide
More example sentences
  • Some immunotherapy agents have serious side effects that can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure.
  • The changes in lung tissue suggest that part of the lung damage is due to cytokines induced by the microbial agent.
  • LDL cholesterol is isolated from a blood sample and exposed to an oxidizing agent.
2.2 Grammar The doer of an action, typically expressed as the subject of an active verb or in a by phrase with a passive verb.
Example sentences
  • Through the use of the passive voice, the agent which designs ‘these carefully targeted actions’ has been left unspecified.
  • While the pivot of an intransitive clause is the core-argument of the verb, the pivot of a transitive clause is not its agent but its patient.
  • For instance, when we describe one person as having killed another, we imply that the first person - the agent of the action - caused the death of the second person.
doer, performer, author, executor, perpetrator, operator, operative, mover, producer;
cause, origin, root, source, instrument, catalyst
2.3 Computing An independently operating Internet program, typically one that performs background tasks such as information retrieval or processing on behalf of a user or other program.
Example sentences
  • Software agents are semi-intelligent computer programs that help users with the overload of information and the complexity of the online world.
  • Host-based IPSs protect servers and workstations via software agents that are placed between applications and the operating system's kernel.
  • Software agents are programs that cooperate with each other in unpredictable environments without human intervention.



Pronunciation: /ˈeɪdʒəntɪv/
adjective ( Grammar )
Example sentences
  • There is variation between er and or in the spelling of the agentive suffix in the words adapter/adaptor, adviser/advisor, convener/convenor, imposter/impostor:.
  • Lingering questions from my senior thesis on the historical lexico-morphological development of the er agentive in English.
  • First, a noun form of the verb, i.e. gerund or agentive noun, is combined with some other word to make a compound word.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'someone or something that produces an effect'): from Latin agent- 'doing', from agere.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: agent

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