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verb in·voke \in-ˈvōk\

Simple Definition of invoke

  • : to mention (someone or something) in an attempt to make people feel a certain way or have a certain idea in their mind

  • : to refer to (something) in support of your ideas

  • : to make use of (a law, a right, etc.)

Full Definition of invoke


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to petition for help or support b :  to appeal to or cite as authority

  3. 2 :  to call forth by incantation :  conjure

  4. 3 :  to make an earnest request for :  solicit

  5. 4 :  to put into effect or operation :  implement

  6. 5 :  bring about, cause

in·vok·er noun

Examples of invoke

  1. Nietzsche is so complex that he can be invoked in support of many outlooks, some of them brutal or nihilistic. —Thomas Nagel, New Republic, 14 Jan. 2002

  2. There are some people who commit murder as a way of invoking the death penalty. Capital punishment can sometimes, then, be equivalent to suicide. —George Freeman Solomon, People, 17 Jan. 1977

  3. We began poring over the typewritten recipes at the dining room table, where I foolishly invoked the name of Julia Child … —Gael Greene, New York, 13 Sept. 1971

  4. He invoked the memory of his predecessor.

  5. She invoked history to prove her point.

  6. He invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges.

  7. The suspect invoked his right to an attorney.

  8. invoke the authority of the court

Origin of invoke

Middle English envoken, from Middle French invoquer, from Latin invocare, from in- + vocare to call, from voc-, vox voice — more at voice

First Known Use: 15th century

INVOKE Defined for Kids


verb in·voke \in-ˈvōk\

Definition of invoke


  1. 1 :  to ask for aid or protection (as in prayer)

  2. 2 :  to call forth by magic <invoke spirits>

  3. 3 :  to appeal to as an authority or for support <She invoked the Sunday rule as soon as he returned from the skateboard park and a family outing was launched. — Carl Hiaasen, Hoot>

Word Root of invoke

The Latin word vox, meaning “voice,” and the related word vocāre, meaning “to call”, give us the root voc or vok. Words from the Latin vox or vocāre have something to do with the voice or with calling. Anything vocal is produced by the voice. A vocation is the work that someone is called to do as a job. To evoke is to call forth. To invoke is to call on for aid or protection. To provoke is to call forth another's anger. The word voice also has vox as its root.

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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