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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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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 in a sentence

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



Origin and Etymology of agent provocateur

French, literally, provoking agent


First Known Use: 1877


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