See more synonyms for agency on
noun, plural a·gen·cies.
  1. an organization, company, or bureau that provides some service for another: a welfare agency.
  2. a company having a franchise to represent another.
  3. a governmental bureau, or an office that represents it.
  4. the place of business of an agent.
  5. Indian agency.
  6. an administrative division of a government.
  7. the duty or function of an agent.
  8. the relationship between a principal and his or her agent.
  9. the state of being in action or of exerting power; operation: the agency of Providence.
  10. a means of exerting power or influence; instrumentality: nominated by the agency of friends.

Origin of agency

1650–60; < Medieval Latin agentia, equivalent to Latin ag- (root of agere to do, act, manage) + -entia -ency
Related formssub·a·gen·cy, noun, plural sub·a·gen·cies.un·der·a·gen·cy, noun, plural un·der·a·gen·cies.

Synonyms for agency

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for agency

Contemporary Examples of agency

Historical Examples of agency

  • But the change had been effected among these by the agency of extreme want.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • He fell to them with only a perfunctory acknowledgment of my agency in procuring them.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Perkins came to him, Perkins who had an agency in Manchester.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • What shall be done with an agency so fierce and absorbing as this?

    College Teaching

    Paul Klapper

  • There has been a 'flare-up' about money between Cashel and him, and it is said he 'll lose the agency.

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for agency


noun plural -cies
  1. a business or other organization providing a specific servicean employment agency
  2. the place where an agent conducts business
  3. the business, duties, or functions of an agent
  4. action, power, or operationthe agency of fate
  5. intercession or mediation
  6. one of the administrative organizations of a government

Word Origin for agency

C17: from Medieval Latin agentia, from Latin agere to do
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for agency

1650s, "active operation," from Medieval Latin agentia, noun of state from Latin agentem (nominative agens) "effective, powerful," present participle of agere (see act (n.)). Meaning "establishment where business is done for another" first recorded 1861.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper