Definition of agent
1 : one that acts or exerts power
2a : something that produces or is capable of producing an effect : an active or efficient cause Education proved to be an agent of change in the community.b : a chemically, physically, or biologically active principle an oxidizing agent
3 : a means or instrument by which a guiding intelligence achieves a result
4 : one who is authorized to act for or in the place of another: such asa : a representative, emissary, or official of a government crown agent federal agentb : one engaged in undercover activities (such as espionage) : spy a secret agentc : a business representative (as of an athlete or entertainer) a theatrical agent
5 : a computer application designed to automate certain tasks (such as gathering information online)
Examples of agent in a Sentence
They worked with a travel agent to plan their vacation.
the whitening agent in the detergent is chlorine bleach
Recent Examples of agent from the Web
Putin said Russia had offered the U.S. and its allies the chance to inspect the Syrian base for traces of the chemical agent and criticized them for their refusal to do so.
Etowah County Drug Enforcement Deputy Commander Phil Sims said Etowah County and Marshall County drug agents, along with Boaz police, carried out a search warrant at a home on Pleasant Hill Road.
Between Usher and Jane, the Underwoods are surrounding themselves with unapologetic double-agents—are Frank or Claire’s evil comments going to end up on tape as well?
Ford said the first two men initially represented themselves as federal agents but may have been bounty hunters.
There were also widespread reports that the Americans had attacked Falluja with white phosphorus, a chemical agent that burns through human skin.
Principal brokers -- those who’ve hired individuals to work at their brokerage -- have a responsibility to monitor broker and agent compliance, according to FSCO.
She was arrested by immigration agents when leaving jail the next day.
Most of them are from the United States, France, Britain, Spain and Italy, agents said.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agent'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of agent
Middle English, from Medieval Latin agent-, agens, from Latin, present participle of agere to drive, lead, act, do; akin to Old Norse aka to travel in a vehicle, Greek agein to drive, lead
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
AGENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of agent for English Language Learners
: a person who does business for another person : a person who acts on behalf of another
: a person who tries to get secret information about another country, government, etc.
: a person or thing that causes something to happen
AGENT Defined for Kids
Definition of agent for Students
1 : something that produces an effect cleansing agents
2 : a person who acts or does business for another a travel agent
Legal Definition of agent
1 : someone or something that acts or exerts power : a moving force in achieving some result
2 : a person guided or instigated by another in some action where the heads of departments are the political…agents of the executive, merely to execute the will of the president — Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) — see also innocent agent
3a : a person or entity (as an employee or independent contractor) authorized to act on behalf of and under the control of another in dealing with third parties — see also agency 2, fiduciary relationship, subagent — compare fiduciary, principal, servant apparent agent : an agent acting under an agency by estoppel bargaining agent : a labor union that represents the employees in a bargaining unit in negotiating with their employer through collective bargaining business agent : an agent that handles business affairs for another person or organization; especially : a paid official of a union who carries on union business between the employees and the employer collective bargaining agent : bargaining agent in this entry del credere agent : an agent that guarantees to his or her principal that third parties involved in the transaction will pay or performenrolled agent : a person qualified through expertise and good reputation to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service exclusive agent : an agent acting under an exclusive agency general agent : an agent acting under a general agency legislative agent : an agent (as for an interest group) that lobbies a legislature especially professionally managing agent : an agent or employee of a corporation or other business entity who has a position that involves the use of judgment and discretion and who is considered under the law as capable of accepting service of process and answering questions under cross-examination on behalf of the business entity ostensible agent : an agent acting under an agency by estoppel special agent : an agent authorized to do one or more specific acts under particular instructions or within restrictions implied by the nature of the authorized acts : an agent acting under a special agency — compare general agent in this entry transfer agent : an officer, bank, or trust company that acts on behalf of a publicly held corporation in handling the transfer of stock and other securities and keeping records of the owners universal agent : an agent acting under a general agency b : a representative (as of a corporation or nonresident administrator of an estate) designated to accept service of process on behalf of the represented party usually as required by statute c : a person or organization that finds buyers or tenants for real estate owners usually for a commission d : an independent sales or service representative of an insurance company — compare broker
4a : a representative, emissary, or official of a government a diplomatic agent b : an employee of a government agency usually that is involved in law enforcement
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up agent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).