[ ey-juhnt ]
See synonyms for: agentagents on

  1. a person or business authorized to act on another's behalf: Our agent in Hong Kong will ship the merchandise.A best-selling author needs a good agent.

  2. a person or thing that acts or has the power to act.

  1. a natural force or object producing or used for obtaining specific results: Many insects are agents of fertilization.

  2. an active cause; an efficient cause.

  3. a person who works for or manages an agency.

  4. a person who acts in an official capacity for a government or private agency as a guard, detective, or spy: an FBI agent;the secret agents of a foreign power.

  5. a person responsible for a particular action: Who was the agent of this deed?

  6. Grammar. a form or construction, usually a noun or noun phrase, denoting an animate being that performs or causes the action expressed by the verb, as the police in The car was found by the police.

  7. a representative of a business firm, especially a traveling salesperson; canvasser; solicitor.

  8. Chemistry. a substance that causes a reaction.

  9. Pharmacology. a drug or chemical capable of eliciting a biological response.

  10. Pathology. any microorganism capable of causing disease.

  11. British. a campaign manager; an election agent.

  1. acting; exerting power (opposed to patient).

verb (used with object)
  1. to represent (a person or thing) as an agent; act as an agent for: to agent a manuscript;Who agented that deal?

Origin of agent

First recorded in 1570–80; from Latin agent-, stem of agēns “doing,” present participle of agere “to do, drive”

Other words for agent

Other words from agent

  • coun·ter·a·gent, noun
  • in·ter·a·gent, noun
  • su·per·a·gent, noun
  • un·der·a·gent, noun

Words Nearby agent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use agent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for agent


/ (ˈeɪdʒənt) /

  1. a person who acts on behalf of another person, group, business, government, etc; representative

  2. a person or thing that acts or has the power to act

  1. a phenomenon, substance, or organism that exerts some force or effect: a chemical agent

  2. the means by which something occurs or is achieved; instrument: wind is an agent of plant pollination

  3. a person representing a business concern, esp a travelling salesman

  4. British short for estate agent

  5. short for secret agent

Origin of agent

C15: from Latin agent-, noun use of the present participle of agere to do

Derived forms of agent

  • agential (eɪˈdʒɛnʃəl), adjective

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

Scientific definitions for agent


[ ājənt ]

  1. A substance that can bring about a chemical reaction or a biological effect. Compare reagent.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.