General English

  • noun a person who works for or represents someone else
  • noun a person or thing that causes something


  • noun a program or piece of software that runs on a workstation in a network and sends performance and statistical information about the workstation to a central network management console
  • noun a series of commands or actions that are carried out automatically on a particular file or data


  • Under agency law, an agent is authorized by the principal to act on the principal's behalf. (For example, an architect is frequently the owner's agent. The owner, then, is the principal.) Generally, an agent's acts bind the principal as though the principal had acted directly. See also principal.


  • noun the chief local official of a trade union


  • A force or substance that effects changes.
  • A computer program that helps automate repetitive tasks, or those that are scheduled. Used, for instance, for backup, or in hand-held personal schedulers. Also known as intelligent agent (1).
  • A computer program that serves to automate the locating and delivering of information over the Internet. Used in Web browsers. Also known as intelligent agent (2).


  • A firm that places transactions on behalf of a client. Forex agents buy, sell, convert and hold currencies. They also trade currency derivatives, such as futures contracts, on behalf of clients. Most forex agents do not charge commissions, but make money on the spread between bid and ask prices for currencies.

Health Economics

  • (written as Agent)
    A professional or similar person who acts on behalf of another (the principal).

Information & Library Science

  • noun somebody who arranges work or business for other people for a fee


  • noun somebody who represents a company or another person in matters relating to contracts
  • noun somebody who works for a government agency, especially in secret

Media Studies

  • noun somebody who officially represents somebody else in business, especially in arranging work in entertainment
  • noun a computer program that works automatically on routine tasks such as sorting e-mail or gathering information


  • noun a chemical substance which makes another substance react
  • noun a substance or organism which causes a disease or condition
  • noun a person who acts as a representative of another person or carries out some kinds of work on his or her behalf


  • noun someone who poses as a civilian in order to gather information, carry out assassinations or acts of sabotage
  • noun a chemical used as a weapon


  • noun a party official who works to support a candidate in an election
  • noun a person who works for a branch of government.

Real Estate

  • noun someone who officially represents someone else, e.g. in buying and selling property or insurance
  • noun someone who provides a particular service for someone else


  • noun somebody in charge of an agency

Origin & History of “agent”

Latin agere, a verb of great semantic breadth (‘drive, lead, act, do’), has been a prolific source of English words. Its past participle, āctus, produced act, action, active, actor, actual, cachet, and exact, while other parts of its paradigm lie behind agile, agitate, ambiguous, coagulate, cogent, cogitate, examine, exigent, exiguous, and prodigal. Its most obvious offspring, however, are agent (literally ‘(person) doing something’) and agency, formed from the Latin present participial stem agent-. Agere itself is of considerable antiquity, being related to other Indo-European verbs such as Greek ágein ‘drive, lead’, Old Norse aka ‘travel in a vehicle’, and Sanskrit ájati ‘drives’.