agent

noun
\ ˈā-jənt How to pronounce agent (audio) \
plural agents

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 as
a : a representative, emissary, or official of a government crown agent federal agent
b : one engaged in undercover activities (such as espionage) : spy a secret agent
c : 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)

Other Words from agent

agentive \ ˈā-​jən-​tiv How to pronounce agent (audio) \ adjective

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 on the Web Because there is a low inventory of residential properties for sale in Avon, the listing agent recommends making an appointment as soon as possible to see this home. Karen A. Avitabile, Hartford Courant, 25 June 2022 The recipe for cement requires lots of a key ingredient called clinker, the crumbly binding agent in the entire mixture. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, 23 June 2022 The real estate agent for the property initially didn’t want to report the incident, but decided to after graffiti with a racial slur appeared on the garage. Justin Raystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 According to the listing agent and numerous publications, the house was previously rented by singer, actress and dancer Jennifer Lopez for $130,000 per month. Robyn A. Friedman, Sun Sentinel, 23 June 2022 The identity of the agent involved and the nature of the deadly altercation was not immediately disclosed by authorities. Gloria Rebecca Gomez, The Arizona Republic, 22 June 2022 There is the herb doctor peddling cures; the cosmopolitan selling charity as confidence; and the agent of the Philosophical Intelligence Office, whose trick is pressing youth into work. Hannah Zeavin, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 When one of the officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived 20 minutes after Ramos entered the school, the agent asked whether children were still inside, according to the Tribune. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 21 June 2022 The hopefuls who sign with the same agent — in Williams’s case, Jeff Schwartz at Excel Sports Management — can become a team of their own. New York Times, 20 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of agent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for agent

Middle English, "force capable of acting on matter," borrowed from Medieval Latin agent-, agens "something capable of producing an effect, person authorized to act for another," going back to Latin, present participle of agere "to drive (cattle), ride (a horse), be in motion, do, perform, transact," going back to Indo-European *h2eǵ- "drive," whence Sanskrit ajati "(s/he) drives," Greek ágein "to lead, carry off," Armenian acem "(I) lead," Old Irish ad-aig "drives, impels," Old Norse aka "to travel in a vehicle"

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Time Traveler for agent

Time Traveler

The first known use of agent was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near agent

age norm

agent

agent cipher

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Statistics for agent

Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Agent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agent. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for agent

agent

noun
\ ˈā-jənt How to pronounce agent (audio) \

Kids Definition of agent

1 : something that produces an effect cleansing agents
2 : a person who acts or does business for another a travel agent

agent

noun
\ ˈā-jənt How to pronounce agent (audio) \

Medical Definition of agent

1 : something that produces or is capable of producing an effect
2 : a chemically, physically, or biologically active principle — see oxidizing agent, reducing agent

agent

noun

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 presidentMarbury 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 sense 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 perform
enrolled 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

More from Merriam-Webster on agent

Nglish: Translation of agent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of agent for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about agent

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