Definition of agent noun in English:

agent noun


  • A noun denoting someone or something that performs the action of a verb, usually ending in -er or -or, e.g. worker, accelerator.

    • ‘Action verbs are used in intransitive predicates that take an agent noun that performs a certain action as argument but does not involve an overt patient.’
    • ‘Morphological markedness of Modern English agent nouns in a diachronic perspective’
    • ‘This paper investigates an asymmetry between agent nouns and patient nouns in a cross-linguistic perspective.’
    • ‘Though bhattu and nattu are nouns expressing relationships they are declined like agent nouns such as satth, as in Sanskrit.’
    • ‘Or does it rhyme with agent nouns like gonger, meaning ‘person who plays the gong’?’
    • ‘The masculine declension differs from that of the agent nouns only in having a short vowel in the second syllable of some forms of the nominative and accusative, as shown below.’
    • ‘The multiple-affix question: why does English often have several affixes that perform the same function or create the same kind of derived word (e.g., ize, ify for causative verbs; er, ant for agent nouns)?’
    • ‘The next words to learn are the easy compounds and derivatives of these words: verbs + prefixes (ab + sum), agent nouns from verbs, qualitative nouns from adjectives, verbal nouns, and so on.’
    • ‘In the second chapter, the author applies the meaning attributed to the agent nouns to the interpretation of the Homeric texts.’
    • ‘We also held on to a few agent nouns ending in ‘ar’ - for example, ‘liar.’’
    • ‘In our workshop, we would like to subject the polysemy of agent nouns to closer scrutiny.’
    • ‘The agent noun construction with a partitive object is no longer considered incorrect.’
    • ‘The patient noun is similarly formed to the agent noun with the prefix in- and affects the voicing of the following consonant by making it voiced.’
    • ‘To form the equivalent of a passive, simply omit the (ergative case-marked) agent noun phrase.’
    • ‘Since this is another of the customary techniques employed in forming English words, it is our prerogative to construct an adjective consisting of an agent noun prefixed to the compound adjective proposed in the previous paragraph but not yet created.’
    • ‘This example seems rather trivial, but things become less trivial if one knows that - er is also used to form instrument nouns (hanger, glider) since the circumstances under which agent nouns and instrument nouns are formed are identical.’
    • ‘Thus in Anglo-Saxon England, when women did virtually all the weaving, baking and sewing, the agent nouns used to refer to the women who did these jobs were (to give them their modern spellings) webster, baxter, and seamster, respectively.’
    • ‘Those nouns which indicate the person doing a given verb action (agent nouns) which are formed by adding er to the stem of the verb.’
    • ‘Like the derivation of verbs from adjectives (or adjectives from verbs) the agent noun derivation of one sort or another is quite common in the world's languages.’
    • ‘Examples for English include the elimination of gender-suffixes of ess, ette, - ix in relation to human agent nouns, the creation of compound nouns involving person, and the avoidance of generic ‘he’.’


agent noun