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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

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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