Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that acts or has the power or authority to act.
  • n. One empowered to act for or represent another: an author's agent; an insurance agent.
  • n. A means by which something is done or caused; instrument.
  • n. A force or substance that causes a change: a chemical agent; an infectious agent.
  • n. A representative or official of a government or administrative department of a government: an FBI agent.
  • n. A spy.
  • n. Linguistics The noun or noun phrase that specifies the person through whom or the means by which an action is effected.
  • transitive v. To act as an agent or representative for: Who will agent your next book?
  • intransitive v. To act as an agent or representative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who exerts power, or has the power to act; an actor.
  • n. One who acts for, or in the place of, another (the principal), by authority from him; one intrusted with the business of another; a substitute; a deputy; a factor.
  • n. An active power or cause; that which has the power to produce an effect; as, a physical, chemical, or medicinal agent; as, heat is a powerful agent.
  • n. In the client-server model, the part of the system that performs information preparation and exchange on behalf of a client or server. Especially in the phrase “intelligent agent” it implies some kind of autonomous process which can communicate with other agents to perform some collective task on behalf of one or more humans.
  • n. The participant of a situation that carries out the action in this situation, e.g. "the boy" in the sentences "The boy kicked the ball" and "The ball was kicked by the boy".

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Acting; -- opposed to patient, or sustaining, action.
  • n. One who exerts power, or has the power to act; an actor.
  • n. One who acts for, or in the place of, another, by authority from him; one intrusted with the business of another; a substitute; a deputy; a factor.
  • n. An active power or cause; that which has the power to produce an effect, such as a physical, chemical, or medicinal agent.
  • n. a chemical substance having biological effects; a drug.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Acting: opposed to patient in the sense of sustaining action.
  • n. An active cause; an efficient cause; one who or that which acts or has the power to act: as, a moral agent; many insects are agents of fertilization.
  • n. A person acting on behalf of another, called his principal; a representative; a deputy, factor, substitute, or attorney. Often abbreviated to agt.
  • n. An official: as, an agent of police.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any agent or representative of a federal agency or bureau
  • n. a businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission
  • n. an active and efficient cause; capable of producing a certain effect
  • n. the semantic role of the animate entity that instigates or causes the happening denoted by the verb in the clause
  • n. a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations
  • n. a substance that exerts some force or effect

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin agēns, agent-, present participle of agere, to do; see ag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin agens, present participle of agere ("to drive", lead, conduct, manage, perform, do") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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