Etymology
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agent (n.)

late 15c., "one who acts," from Latin agentem (nominative agens) "effective, powerful," present participle of agere "to set in motion, drive forward; to do, perform; keep in movement" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move").

The meaning "any natural force or substance which produces a phenomenon" is from 1550s. The meaning "deputy, representative" is from 1590s. The sense of "spy, secret agent" is attested by 1916.

agent (adj.)

"acting, sustaining action," 1610s, from agent (n.).

updated on September 15, 2022

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Definitions of agent from WordNet

agent (n.)
an active and efficient cause; capable of producing a certain effect;
their research uncovered new disease agents
agent (n.)
a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations;
agent (n.)
a substance that exerts some force or effect;
agent (n.)
a businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission;
Synonyms: factor / broker
agent (n.)
any agent or representative of a federal agency or bureau;
Synonyms: federal agent
agent (n.)
the semantic role of the animate entity that instigates or causes the happening denoted by the verb in the clause;
Synonyms: agentive role
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.