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agent provocateur

[ey-juh nt pruh-vok-uh-tur; French a-zhahn praw-vaw-ka-tœr] /ˈeɪ dʒənt prəˌvɒk əˈtɜr; French a ʒɑ̃ prɔ vɔ kaˈtœr/
noun, plural agents provocateurs
[ey-juh nts pruh-vok-uh-tur; French a-zhahn praw-vaw-ka-tœr] /ˈeɪ dʒənts prəˌvɒk əˈtɜr; French a ʒɑ̃ prɔ vɔ kaˈtœr/ (Show IPA)
a secret agent hired to incite suspected persons to some illegal action, outbreak, etc., that will make them liable to punishment.
Origin of agent provocateur
1875-80; < French: inciting agent; see provocation, -eur Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for agent-provocateur
Historical Examples
  • That is why one was never sure that the stranger who denounced Rasputin and his friends was not an agent-provocateur.

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
British Dictionary definitions for agent-provocateur

agent provocateur

/aʒɑ̃ prɔvɔkatœr/
noun (pl) agents provocateurs (aʒɑ̃ prɔvɔkatœr)
a secret agent employed to provoke suspected persons to commit illegal acts and so be discredited or liable to punishment
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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