agent provocateur

[ ey-juh nt pruh-vok-uh-tur; French a-zhahn praw-vaw-ka-tœr ]
/ ˈeɪ dʒənt prəˌvɒk əˈtɜr; French a ʒɑ̃ prɔ vɔ kaˈtœr /

noun, plural a·gents pro·vo·ca·teurs [ey-juh nts pruh-vok-uh-tur; French a-zhahn praw-vaw-ka-tœr] /ˈeɪ dʒənts prəˌvɒk əˈtɜr; French a ʒɑ̃ prɔ vɔ kaˈtœr/.

a secret agent hired to incite suspected persons to some illegal action, outbreak, etc., that will make them liable to punishment.

QUIZZES

CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH THIS MIDDLE SCHOOL PART OF SPEECH QUIZ!

How well do you know your adjectives from your adverbs? Your preposition from your pronouns? Your interjections from your conjunctions? Let’s put your knowledge of parts of speech to the text! Note: Many of the following questions will ask you to identify the parts of speech “in order.” That means the first word in all capital letters will correspond to the first option in an answer, and so on.
Question 1 of 10
In order, what parts of speech are the words in all capital letters? Alisa was VERY tired, SO she decided to go to bed.

Origin of agent provocateur

1875–80; < French: inciting agent; see provocation, -eur
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for agent provocateur

  • That is why one was never sure that the stranger who denounced Rasputin and his friends was not an agent-provocateur.

    The Minister of Evil|William Le Queux

British Dictionary definitions for agent provocateur

agent provocateur
/ French (aʒɑ̃ prɔvɔkatœr) /

noun plural agents provocateurs (aʒɑ̃ prɔvɔkatœr)

a secret agent employed to provoke suspected persons to commit illegal acts and so be discredited or liable to punishment
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