agency

noun
agen·​cy | \ ˈā-jən(t)-sē How to pronounce agency (audio) \
plural agencies

Definition of agency

1a : the office or function of an agent (see agent sense 4)
b : the relationship between a principal and that person's agent
2 : the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power : operation
3 : a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved : instrumentality communicated through the agency of the ambassador
4 : an establishment engaged in doing business for another an advertising agency
5 : an administrative division (as of a government) the agency for consumer protection

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Examples of agency in a Sentence

the federal agency in charge of printing money The employment agency helps those who have been recently laid off find jobs.
Recent Examples on the Web In a Facebook post Monday, the agency requested help locating the victims’ silver 2005 Acura SL with a Georgia license plate and tag number CDQ4791. Henri Hollis, ajc, "Murder suspect sought after couple found shot in Decatur home," 12 Jan. 2021 After nearly two decades as an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Chao had left the space agency to commercialize a seafaring generator that can harness the limitless thermal energy trapped in the world’s oceans. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "The Plan to Build a Global Network of Floating Power Stations," 11 Jan. 2021 Michael Morell, a career intelligence officer and former acting director of the CIA whose name was floated to hold the top position under Biden, praised the pick, an indication that Burns likely will be embraced by the spy agency’s rank and file. Matthew Lee, Anchorage Daily News, "Biden chooses veteran diplomat Burns as CIA director," 11 Jan. 2021 The existing design work is being paid for by the Corps under a special program that authorizes the agency to develop such initial proposals for projects considered of national importance. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Corps proposes $2 billion, 30.6-mile Upper Barataria levee to protect from 100-year hurricane storm surges," 10 Jan. 2021 Lawmakers questioned whether the agency could even make all those new hires, some of which are high level, by the June 30th end of the biennium. oregonlive, "Oregon lawmakers reluctantly make $17 million downpayment on wildfire preparedness," 9 Jan. 2021 The Export-Import Bank finalized its first ever U.S. LNG export project authorization, the agency announced today. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Here’s how Democrats could pass legislation in a split Senate," 8 Jan. 2021 After a company submits the results of clinical trials to the F.D.A. for consideration, the agency decides whether the product is safe and effective, a process that generally takes many months. New York Times, "How the Head of a Vaccine Research Clinic Spends Her Sundays," 8 Jan. 2021 Even so, Jerry also needs to address the defense in all three levels in the draft and free agency. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "As necessary as it was, firing Mike Nolan doesn’t magically fix all of the Cowboys’ issues on defense," 8 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agency.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of agency

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for agency

ag(ent) + -ency, perhaps after Medieval Latin agentia, derivative of agent-, agens agent

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Time Traveler for agency

Time Traveler

The first known use of agency was in 1640

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Statistics for agency

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Agency.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agency. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for agency

agency

noun
How to pronounce agency (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of agency

: a business that provides a particular service
: a government department that is responsible for a particular activity, area, etc.

agency

noun
agen·​cy | \ ˈā-jən-sē How to pronounce agency (audio) \
plural agencies

Kids Definition of agency

1 : a person or thing through which power is used or something is achieved Through the agency of his former school, he reunited with some old friends.
2 : a business that provides a particular service an advertising agency
3 : a part of a government that is responsible for providing a particular service or performing a specific function law enforcement agencies

agency

noun
agen·​cy
plural agencies

Legal Definition of agency

1 : the person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved death by criminal agency— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.
2a : a consensual fiduciary relationship in which one party acts on behalf of and under the control of another in dealing with third parties also : the power of one in such a relationship to act on behalf of another

Note: A principal is bound by and liable for acts of his or her agent that are within the scope of the agency.

actual agency
: the agency that exists when an agent is in fact employed by a principal — see also express agency and implied agency in this entry
agency by estoppel
: an agency that is not created as an actual agency by a principal and an agent but that is imposed by law when a principal acts in such a way as to lead a third party to reasonably believe that another is the principal's agent and the third party is injured by relying on and acting in accordance with that belief

Note: A principal has a duty to correct a third party's mistaken belief in an agent's authority to act on the principal's behalf. If the principal could have corrected the misunderstanding but failed to do so, he or she is estopped from denying the existence of the agency and is bound by the agent's acts in dealing with the third party.

agency coupled with an interest
: an agency in which the agent has an interest in the property regarding which he or she is acting on the principal's behalf
apparent agency
: agency by estoppel in this entry
exclusive agency
: an agency common in real estate sales in which the property owner agrees to employ no agents to sell the property other than the one hired for a specified period
express agency
: an actual agency created by the written or spoken words of the principal authorizing the agent to act — compare implied agency in this entry
general agency
: an agency in which the agent is authorized to perform on behalf of the principal in all matters in furtherance of a particular business of the principal — compare special agency in this entry
implied agency
: an actual agency created by acts of a principal that reasonably imply an intention to create an agency relationship — compare express agency in this entry
ostensible agency
: agency by estoppel in this entry
special agency
: an agency in which the agent is authorized to perform only specified acts or to act only in a specified transaction — compare general agency in this entry
universal agency
: general agency in this entry
b : the office and function of an agent even when granted discretion in carrying out his agency— R. C. Clark
c : the law concerned with the relationship of a principal and an agent
3 : an establishment engaged in doing the business of another: as
a : an establishment authorized by an insurance company to sell insurance policies and provide services offered by the insurer
b : an establishment authorized by property owners to find a buyer for their property

Note: Many businesses that use the term agency are not truly agencies as defined in sense 2.

4 : a department or other unit of government created by legislation to administer the law in a particular area of public concern

called also administrative agency

— see also enabling statute, exhaustion of remedies, Administrative Procedure Act

Note: When a legislature determines that government involvement is needed in a particular social activity or problem, it may write legislation creating an agency either directly or by authorizing the executive to set it up. Agencies exist at the federal, state, and local levels. Most federal agencies are attached to the executive branch of government. Some agencies (such as the Environmental Protection Agency) are called an agency. An agency may, however, be called such other names as board (as the National Labor Relations Board), commission (as the Securities and Exchange Commission), administration (as the Social Security Administration), and service (as the Internal Revenue Service). Agencies at the federal level are governed by the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, which is found at title 5 of the U.S. Code.

independent agency
: an agency that is not part of any of the three branches of government
regulatory agency
: an agency that is authorized by the legislature to establish and enforce rules regulating its particular area of concern often used interchangeably with agency or administrative agency

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Comments on agency

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