Definition of agent in English:



  • 1A person who acts on behalf of another person or group.

    ‘in the event of illness, a durable power of attorney enabled her nephew to act as her agent’
    • ‘The mining company will host an international meeting for all agents involved in the handling and transportation of its copper and cobalt up to the final destination.’
    • ‘Women must rely on male agents to deal with government offices and conduct many business transactions.’
    • ‘He can also call for the working papers (linking documents) that the taxpayer's agent has used to compile a set of accounts from the basic records.’
    • ‘The money raised will be used to hire a planning agent to represent the group at an appeal hearing next month.’
    • ‘For example, agents must not use their position to acquire benefits for themselves at the expense of their principals.’
    • ‘You stated that the immigration officer did ask you questions but you were given instructions by the agent and the agent replied on your behalf.’
    • ‘Most of our goods, even those coming from South Africa, are sourced through local agents.’
    • ‘Clients of this firm should not panic as we have appointed an agent to look after their interests.’
    • ‘This has been confirmed to me by the legal agent acting on my behalf.’
    • ‘In that case, the plaintiff retained an agent to find a warehouse property of approximately 50,000 square feet.’
    representative, negotiator, business manager, emissary, envoy, factor, go-between, proxy, surrogate, trustee, liaison, broker, delegate, spokesperson, spokesman, spokeswoman, frontman, mouthpiece
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    1. 1.1A person who manages business, financial, or contractual matters for an actor, performer, or writer.
      • ‘Well, you know what we found out was that there are a lot of people in her life who are not famous - agents, publicists, promoters.’
      • ‘In a first letter to the club, Magnier and McManus questioned the role of agents in recent transfers in and out of United, and the money paid to them by United.’
      • ‘‘Everyone wanted a rave film; agents were telling writers to do a rave film,’ he recalls about the early days of development.’
      • ‘If he is able to explore his options, don't be surprised if at least 10 teams make an initial call to his agent on Spikes' behalf.’
      • ‘Young women writers (and their agents and their editors) are making money and gaining power.’
      • ‘But one of the strongest arguments on behalf of sports agents is that they can help athletes preserve and grow their wealth.’
      • ‘Before long, I established a relationship with him that was part publicist, part business agent, and part supplier.’
      • ‘So then I get bombarded with 18 million resumes and 8x10s, and I'm being chased down the street by agents and actors, and so I get on a boat and sail out to sea.’
      • ‘But behind the scenes there are angry agents, frustrated writers and a queue of people itching to say, ‘I told you so.’’
      • ‘At times I wonder why some of the actors have agents in Hollywood whereas I strongly feel that an Indian star will look the best in an Indian flick.’
      • ‘With a considerably larger cast of main characters, this second novel takes in three generations and a wide milieu of itinerant bed-hopping actors, theatrical agents and journalists.’
      • ‘The role of the publisher could change markedly and perhaps be collapsed into that of the writers and their business managers and agents.’
      • ‘I sent out 20 or 30 copies of the first three chapters to agents and I had six agents who wanted to represent me.’
      • ‘Not that Everett is exactly hassling his agent for alpha male roles.’
      • ‘I was rehearsing for a small part in Chicago, though my agent felt a understudy role in Alabama was more likely.’
      • ‘Actors, agents and managers go home happy with a tasty 10-15% of their clients' payday.’
      • ‘I rarely deal with agents because we breed our own players and I won't deal with agents on their behalf.’
      • ‘By that time, I was in the sort of semi-media business as an agent handling writers.’
    2. 1.2A person or company that provides a particular service, typically one that involves organizing transactions between two other parties.
      ‘a travel agent’
      ‘shipping agents’
      ‘a real-estate agent’
      • ‘From a product manufacturer's viewpoint, there continues to be a growing need to provide value-added services to agents.’
      • ‘Lots of people give advice - lenders, real-estate agents, brokers.’
      • ‘In BVI, the Bahamas, Niue, and the Seychelles, the parent company acts solely as a company formation agent and provides related services.’
      • ‘She did not advertise the unit for rent, nor did she employ the services of a rental agent or of a real estate firm.’
      • ‘Moreover, a company will need to make sure that it's getting the right level of service from a third party serving as the outsourcing agent for many different organizations.’
      • ‘Developers or agents often provide a letting agency as part of their service but the information you gather here is unlikely to provide a truly objective view.’
      • ‘Some mobile service agents will also provide you with a replacement mobile phone while yours is being repaired.’
      • ‘Property agents and consultancy companies whose information network and service quality are poor will find no recourse but to leave the playing field.’
      • ‘Another service such agents provide is a temporary loan.’
      • ‘I'm sure that most customers would prefer to have a service agent much closer to office or home, and not need to have the added customer service of a courtesy car.’
      • ‘Communicate with buyers and organic certifying agents concerning GMO contamination issues.’
      • ‘There will also be private shows, which involve one or two agents and developers running their own exhibition in a hotel.’
      • ‘The new system will improve service for agents and distributors and provide a platform to enhance sales-force effectiveness.’
      • ‘Called EstateCraft it offers a complete business solution for residential and commercial estate agents, letting and business transfer agents.’
      • ‘The real estate institutes imply that their agents are not involved.’
      agency, business, organization, company, firm, office, bureau, concern, service
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    3. 1.3A person who obtains information for a government or other official body, typically in secret.
      ‘a trained intelligence agent’
      ‘KGB agents’
      ‘an FBI agent’
      • ‘CI agent training focuses on methods to detect and counter enemy intelligence efforts and to conduct investigations.’
      • ‘Intelligence gathered by human agents was vital to attaining the first goal.’
      • ‘And the need to field a new army of spies and intelligence agents to track down and destroy terrorism is clear.’
      • ‘Virginia Hall served as an intelligence agent during World War II.’
      • ‘Crooks, spies, and intelligence agents of all stripes began flooding into the United States.’
      • ‘The planes land many times at Camp Peary in Virginia, known as ‘The Farm,’ where CIA agents are trained in espionage.’
      • ‘It urged amendments to federal and provincial laws so that undercover agents could legally obtain false identification documents.’
      • ‘A senior law enforcement official said FBI agents confiscated classified documents he was carrying and questioned him before he was handed over to the military.’
      • ‘One official claimed that intelligence agents had recovered a ‘treasure trove’ of documents during the Pakistan raid.’
      • ‘Tofte began to recruit, train and insert agents who would gather intelligence behind enemy lines.’
      • ‘So intensive was the surveillance that agents obtained a photocopy of the passport and visa stamp and delivered it to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.’
      • ‘This investigation, like others, will be conducted by FBI agents and Justice Department officials.’
      • ‘As a private attorney, he works without charge to help hundreds of intelligence agents obtain lawful permission to declassify and publish the hidden secrets of our times.’
      • ‘On the other hand, many of the CIA's best agents through the years have been intelligence volunteers.’
      • ‘And in an exclusive behind the scenes look at undercover agents fighting a secret war in this country.’
      • ‘The Interior Ministry will also command a domestic intelligence network made up largely of secret police and intelligence agents from the ousted government.’
      • ‘It ruled that from then on, every last communication between intelligence agents and law-enforcement officials required its approval.’
      • ‘Intelligence agents obtained the tape during a search of a private house in Jalalabad after it was abandoned by the Taliban and officials are now debating whether to release the tape.’
      • ‘But without the information from FBI intelligence agents, his grand jury didn't have enough evidence to return indictments.’
      • ‘I have spoken to numerous FBI and CIA counter-terrorist agents, all of whom tell a similar story.’
      spy, secret agent, undercover agent, operative, fifth columnist, mata hari
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  • 2A person or thing that takes an active role or produces a specified effect.

    ‘universities are usually liberal communities that often view themselves as agents of social change’
    • ‘In addition, our study contributes to a greater understanding of newly appointed CEOs in their roles as change agents.’
    • ‘The organisations and the people in them can become the agents of change.’
    • ‘She was an agent of chaos, and she was also a genius.’
    • ‘That's what separates the successful agents of musical change from the failures: respect for and knowledge of the past.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that the state will continue to evolve from the traditional welfare role towards an agent of modernisation and structural reform.’
    • ‘Though not always the makers of art, their role as agents in the shaping of dynamic artistic cultures was vital and remains poorly understood.’
    • ‘It would be useful for future studies to explore the role of other sociocultural agents, such as schools and teachers, in influencing attitudes and behaviors.’
    • ‘Its new promotional campaign positions the company as an agent in the war against inequality.’
    • ‘His conviction as a humanitarian made him a revolutionary and an agent for change.’
    medium, means, instrument, vehicle
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    1. 2.1A substance that brings about a chemical or physical effect or causes a chemical reaction.
      ‘there is an urgent need for new antimicrobial agents to combat infections’
      ‘the bleaching agent used is hydrogen peroxide’
      • ‘The chemical is used as a bleaching agent in most household cleaning products and as a disinfectant for water and swimming pools.’
      • ‘LDL cholesterol is isolated from a blood sample and exposed to an oxidizing agent.’
      • ‘For patients with acid reflux, bulimia, or alcoholism, antacids or acid-reducing agents may be given to help reduce tooth erosion.’
      • ‘Some immunotherapy agents have serious side effects that can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure.’
      • ‘The changes in lung tissue suggest that part of the lung damage is due to cytokines induced by the microbial agent.’
      • ‘Oral antibiotics have significantly more side effects, especially gastrointestinal effects, than topical agents.’
      • ‘Elderly patients should not be treated with tertiary amines because of the greater anticholinergic effects of these agents.’
      • ‘Bleaching agents can be applied that will give the decking a silvered weathered look.’
    2. 2.2Grammar The doer of an action, typically expressed as the subject of an active verb or in a by phrase with a passive verb.
      • ‘We need a term for this phenomenon, in which the agent is changed to avoid using an imperative.’
      • ‘For instance, when we describe one person as having killed another, we imply that the first person - the agent of the action - caused the death of the second person.’
      • ‘While the pivot of an intransitive clause is the core-argument of the verb, the pivot of a transitive clause is not its agent but its patient.’
      • ‘In such cases, the -or is generally interpreted as an agent suffix like the vernacular -er: author is as invariable in its spelling as writer.’
      • ‘Through the use of the passive voice, the agent which designs ‘these carefully targeted actions’ has been left unspecified.’
      doer, performer, author, executor, perpetrator, operator, operative, mover, producer
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Late Middle English (in the sense someone or something that produces an effect): from Latin agent- doing from agere.