from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A person pretending to work as a spy for one government while actually working as a spy for another government.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A spy who pretends to work for one side, when they are truthfully working for the other/ passing information to the other.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a spy who works for two mutually antagonistic countries
Sorry, no etymologies found.
In his letter from Allenwood, Rick Ames offered a subtler definition: A double agent may be of two sorts: one who was a bona fide agent of an espionage service but who was turned, tumbled or recruited by another without the first service’s knowledge or one who falsely gains the trust of an espionage service in order to serve another.
In the era of Kim Philby and James Jesus Angleton—the first a notorious British double agent for the Soviets, the second the crazed, paranoid chief of CIA counterintelligence—my parents fit the category of people who would have made valuable assets for either camp.
His organization was infiltrated by an army double agent who was allowed to carry out several sneak attacks, killing large numbers of soldiers, to prove his authenticity to Zapata.