agent provocateur

noun
agent pro·vo·ca·teur | \ ˈä-ˌzhäⁿ-prō-ˌvä-kə-ˈtər , ˈā-jənt- \
plural agents provocateurs\ˈä-ˌzhäⁿ-prō-ˌvä-kə-ˈtər, ˈā-jən(t)s-prō- \

Definition of agent provocateur 

: 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

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

Recent Examples on the Web

It is now known who that agent provocateur was that the FBI used and John Brennan used and James Clapper. Fox News, "Hannity: Another stinging setback for the special counsel," 17 May 2018 More in Moving Targets A more sinister possibility is that UFOs are loaded with agents provocateurs sent here to sow the seeds of discord in our society. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "What Those UFOs Are Really Up To," 21 Dec. 2017

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

First Known Use of agent provocateur

1845, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agent provocateur

borrowed from French, literally, "provoking agent"

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The first known use of agent provocateur was in 1845

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More Definitions for agent provocateur

agent provocateur

noun

English Language Learners Definition of agent provocateur

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

More from Merriam-Webster on agent provocateur

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about agent provocateur

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