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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Emissary


EM'ISSARY, noun [Latin emissarius, from emitto; e and mitto, to send.]

A person sent on a mission; a missionary employed to preach and propagate the gospel.

If one of the four gospels be genuine, we have, in that one, strong reason to believe, that we posses the accounts which the original emissaries of the religion delivered.

[This sense is now unusual.]

2. A person sent on a private message or business; a secret agent, employed to sound or ascertain the opinions of others, and to spread reports or propagate opinions favorable to his employer, or designed to defeat the measures or schemes of his opposers or foes; a spy; but an emissary may differ from a spy. A spy in war is one who enters an enemy's camp or territories to learn the condition of the enemy; an emissary may be a secret agent employed not only to detect the schemes of an opposing party, but to influence their councils. A spy in war must be concealed, or he suffers death; an emissary may in some cases be known as the agent of an adversary, without incurring similar hazard.

3. That which sends out or emits. [Not used.]

Emissary vessels, in anatomy, the same as excretory.

EM'ISSARY, adjective Exploring; spying.