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agent provocateur

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noun agent pro·vo·ca·teur \ˈä-ˌzhäⁿ-prō-ˌvä-kə-ˈtər, ˈā-jənt-\

Simple Definition of agent provocateur

  • : a person employed to encourage people to break the law so that they can be arrested

Full Definition of agent provocateur

plural agents provocateurs \ˈä-ˌzhäⁿ-prō-ˌvä-kə-ˈtər, ˈā-jən(t)s-prō-\

  1. :  one employed to associate with suspected persons and by pretending sympathy with their aims to incite them to some incriminating action

Examples of agent provocateur

  1. The government used agents provocateurs to try to undermine the opposition party.



Origin of agent provocateur

French, literally, provoking agent


First Known Use: 1877


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