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late 15c., "one who acts," from Latin agentem (nominative agens) "effective, powerful," present participle of agere "to set in motion, drive, lead, conduct" (see act (n.)). Meaning "any natural force or substance which produces a phenomenon" is from 1550s. Meaning "deputy, representative" is from 1590s. Sense of "spy, secret agent" is attested by 1916.
1610s, from agent (n.).
agent a·gent (ā'jənt)
A force or substance, such as a chemical, that causes a change.
A substance that can bring about a chemical reaction or a biological effect. Compare reagent.
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 automatic process which can communicate with other agents to perform some collective task on behalf of one or more humans.