Talk:emissary

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The 1913 Webster provides a different, much more negative definition:

 Emissary \Em"is*sa*ry\, n.; pl. {Emissaries}. [L. emissarius,
    fr. emittere, emissum, to send out: cf. F. ['e]missaire. See
    {Emit}.]
    An agent employed to advance, in a covert manner, the
    interests of his employers; one sent out by any power that is
    at war with another, to create dissatisfaction among the
    people of the latter.
    [1913 Webster]
 
          Buzzing emissaries fill the ears
          Of listening crowds with jealousies and fears.
                                                   --Dryden.
 
    Syn: {Emissary}, {Spy}.
 
    Usage: A spy is one who enters an enemy's camp or territories
           to learn the condition of the enemy; an emissary may
           be a secret agent appointed not only to detect the
           schemes of an opposing party, but to influence their
           councils. A spy 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.
           [1913 Webster]

I don't think this merely subtleties in defining, as w:emissary goes to ambassadors and diplomats. Is there a serious change in usage over time that should be noted here?--Prosfilaes 22:06, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Last modified on 25 October 2010, at 22:06