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.

Nearby words

  1. agenosomia,
  2. agent,
  3. agent noun,
  4. agent of production,
  5. agent orange,
  6. agent-general,
  7. agential,
  8. agentival,
  9. agentive,
  10. agentry

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. 2019

Examples 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