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[ey-juh n-see] /ˈeɪ dʒən si/
noun, plural agencies.
an organization, company, or bureau that provides some service for another:
a welfare agency.
a company having a franchise to represent another.
a governmental bureau, or an office that represents it.
the place of business of an agent.
an administrative division of a government.
the duty or function of an agent.
the relationship between a principal and his or her agent.
the state of being in action or of exerting power; operation:
the agency of Providence.
a means of exerting power or influence; instrumentality:
nominated by the agency of friends.
Origin of agency
1650-60; < Medieval Latin agentia, equivalent to Latin ag- (root of agere to do, act, manage) + -entia -ency
Related forms
subagency, noun, plural subagencies.
underagency, noun, plural underagencies.
10. intercession, good offices. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for agency
  • The federal consumer-protection agency is about to open for business.
  • There might be a way to get a new rating agency up and accepted faster than going thru a complete cycle.
  • Amenities include a restaurant, ice-cream shop and travel agency.
  • Innovation should not be dictated by a needless government agency.
  • The program is now officially done, the agency says.
  • Those partnerships pose a wide range of payoffs and risks, the agency says.
  • But he said the agency could say little more about the case while it was in litigation.
  • The space agency crashed a satellite on the moon in a search for water.
  • The agency had already enlisted an unusual team of bioscience experts.
  • It is rare in advertising for an agency to disclose a loss of a client, much less to announce it publicly.
British Dictionary definitions for agency


noun (pl) -cies
a business or other organization providing a specific service: an employment agency
the place where an agent conducts business
the business, duties, or functions of an agent
action, power, or operation: the agency of fate
intercession or mediation
one of the administrative organizations of a government
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin agentia, from Latin agere to do
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
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Word Origin and History for agency

1650s, "active operation," from Medieval Latin agentia, noun of state from Latin agentem (nominative agens) "effective, powerful," present participle of agere (see act (n.)). Meaning "establishment where business is done for another" first recorded 1861.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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