double agent


Definition of double agent 

: a spy pretending to serve one government while actually serving another

Examples of double agent in a Sentence

He was secretly working as a double agent for the Americans during the war.

Recent Examples on the Web

Amesbury is seven miles from the town of Salisbury, where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with military-grade nerve agent Novichok in March. Francis Whittaker /, NBC News, "New incident near scene of Sergei Skripal attack leaves 2 critically ill," 4 July 2018 This year, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, England, in an attack the U.K. blames on Moscow. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "U.K. Must Strengthen Intelligence Sharing With Europe Before Brexit," 14 May 2018 When former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England, by a Novichok nerve agent, the British government investigated — and called the Russian state responsible for the chemical attack. Stephanie Liechtenstein, Washington Post, "Why Austria’s response to the Skripal poisoning wasn’t so tough on Russia," 18 Apr. 2018 Saturday's airstrikes have further aggravated relations between Britain and Russia, which were already at their lowest in decades following a nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England last month. Sheena Mckenzie, CNN, "Britain braces for possible Russian retaliation over Syria strikes," 16 Apr. 2018 The series of meetings — an astonishing display of European envoys arriving one after the other — marked the latest twist in reprisal moves after the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain. Matthew Bodner,, "Russia tells string of European envoys of latest expulsions," 30 Mar. 2018 Skripal was a former Russian spy who had been convicted and jailed by Russia of acting as a double agent and passing information to Britain's security service MI6. Christina Boyle,, "Britain to expel 23 Russian diplomats over poison attack," 14 Mar. 2018 The exposure of an apparently random British couple to the same nerve agent used against former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, in the same part of southwest England, has sent officials scrambling to discover the source of the contamination. NBC News, "U.K. woman dies after exposure to Novichok, the same nerve agent used in Skripal attack," 8 July 2018 Their location was just a few miles away from where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in March with a Novichok agent. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'double agent.' 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 double agent

1935, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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The first known use of double agent was in 1935

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double agent


English Language Learners Definition of double agent

: a spy who pretends to spy for one government while actually spying for another

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