Informer vs. Informant with Mind tricks

Informer, and informant both mean someone who gives information. They can be used as synonyms. However, there is an important distinction between them.

informer vs. informant, informer, informant

Quick Look

Informer is a person who gives information in secret, especially to the police, or other secret agency.
Informant is a person who gives general information to another person or organisation (including Intelligence agencies).

    What is the meaning of Informer?

    According to Oxford, "a person who gives information to the police or other authority."

    Collins says, 'An informer is a person who tells the police that someone has done something illegal.'

    Merriam says, 'a person who gives information to the police about secret or criminal activities.'

    Informer in sentence:
    • His words are dangerous and foolhardy, for Nazi informers lurk everywhere.
    • The C.I.A. learned of Mr. al-Rimi’s location from an informer in Yemen in November, according to a United States official who was briefed on the strike.
    • As many as one in four people were thought to be informers for Ceausescu's secret police in the 1980s.
    • He said that his conclusions are supported not only by the receipts but by interviews with informers in Syria over a 16-month period.

    What is the meaning of Informant?

    According to Oxford, "a person who gives secret information about somebody/something to the police or a newspaper."

    (technical) a person who gives somebody information about something, for example to help them with their research.

    According to Merriam
    a person who gives information to the police about secret or criminal activities.

    In technical sense: a person who gives information about his or her culture or language to a researcher.

    Informant in sentence:
    • A trap was set with the help of an informant.
    • “There was no magic phone call, no letter, no informant saying you need to look at this case,” Purcell said.
    • The informant was later found dead, however, and Kabuga remained at large.
    • Agents received the dossier in September 2016 and read its allegations that Mr. Trump was a Russian informant.

    What is the difference between Informer and Informant?

    Dictionaries say informer and informant can be used as synonyms. Using them as synonyms, however, can sometimes be confusing, as they carry different identity in different contexts.

    On the basis of our dictionaries, we differentiate them as below:

    In general sense, an informant is someone who give information.
    In technical sense, an informant is someone who has experience so that he or she can share  information with a researcher in culture, social, or language topics.

    An Informer is a person paid to provide information, particularly inside information, about people and events in a group to which he or she belongs. He or she can be called a traitor after getting identified.

    More general differences:

    An Informant may be or may not be employed by authorized agency.
    An Informer is generally employed by authorized agency.

    An Informant is recognizable.
    An Informer is not recognizable.

    An Informant is awarded openly on providing important information.
    An Informer is not awarded openly.

    Every person can be known as an informant when it comes to share general information.
    But a few can be an informer when it comes to share secrets.

    How do we remember Informer and Informant?

    An Informer is a secret agent: you can see common "e" in both informer and secret. With the help of this "e", we can easily learn that informer share secrets.

    An Informant is someone who give general information. The first seven letters of informant and information are the same-i.n.f.o.r.m.a .  This way we can easily remember that informant shares information.

    Can informer and informant be used as synonyms ?

    Yes, informer, and informant can be used as synonyms when they mean "someone who gives information to the police about secret or criminal activities."
    • I used to work as police informant (informer).
    Informant is also used to means a person who gives information about his or her culture or language to a researcher.

    Types of Informers or Informants:
    They can be identified citizen.
    They can be from the criminal world.
    They can be anonymous.

    With the help of Ngram, we can see that informant is more used than informer.

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