advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt\

Definition of advocate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who pleads the cause of another specifically : one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court

2 : one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal an advocate of liberal arts education

3 : one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group a consumer advocate an advocate for women's health He has paid respectful attention to the home schooling movement by meeting with its advocates and endorsing their cause.— Elizabeth Drew

advocate

verb
ad·​vo·​cate | \ˈad-və-ˌkāt \
advocated; advocating

Definition of advocate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to support or argue for (a cause, policy, etc.) : to plead in favor of They advocated a return to traditional teaching methods. a group that advocates vegetarianism

intransitive verb

: to act as advocate for someone or something … a tradition of advocating for the equality and civil rights of all people …— Fred Kuhr

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from advocate

Verb

advocation \ˌad-​və-​ˈkā-​shən \ noun
advocative \ˈad-​və-​ˌkā-​tiv \ adjective
Its mission is now more advocative—to represent business interests on local, state and national issues that affect the Southland. — Nancy Yoshihara
advocator \-​ˌkā-​tər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for advocate

Verb

support, uphold, advocate, back, champion mean to favor actively one that meets opposition. support is least explicit about the nature of the assistance given. supports waterfront development uphold implies extended support given to something attacked. upheld the legitimacy of the military action advocate stresses urging or pleading. advocated prison reform back suggests supporting by lending assistance to one failing or falling. refusing to back the call for sanctions champion suggests publicly defending one unjustly attacked or too weak to advocate his or her own cause. championed the rights of children

Benjamin Franklin Wasn't a Fan of Advocate

Verb

Benjamin Franklin may have been a great innovator in science and politics, but on the subject of advocate, he was against change. In 1789, he wrote a letter to his compatriot Noah Webster complaining about a "new word": the verb advocate. Like others of his day, Franklin knew advocate primarily as a noun meaning "one who pleads the cause of another," and he urged Webster to condemn the verb's use. In truth, the verb wasn't as new as Franklin assumed (etymologists have traced it back to 1599), though it was apparently surging in popularity in his day. Webster evidently did not heed Franklin's plea. His famous 1828 dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, entered both the noun and the verb senses of advocate.

Examples of advocate in a Sentence

Noun

… two of nanotechnology's biggest advocates square off on a fundamental question that will dramatically affect the future development of this field. — K. Eric Drexler et al., Chemical & Engineering News, 1 Dec. 2003 Ms. Hart was familiar with local medical-review policies from her work as a patient advocate. — Laurie McGinley, Wall Street Journal, 16 Sept. 2003 a passionate advocate of civil rights She works as a consumer advocate.

Verb

… it makes sense to commence with … a good medium-weight Chardonnay for the wine aficionados. I advocate one with a little oak and lots of fruit … — Anthony Dias Blue, Bon Appétit, November 1997 He advocated the creation of a public promenade along the sea, with arbors and little green tables for the consumption of beer … — Henry James, The American, 1877 He advocates traditional teaching methods. The plan is advocated by the president.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lindsay is also an advocate for victims of domestic violence, and in recent years has opened up about her own experience of growing up in a household marked by domestic abuse. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "Who Is Lindsay Wagner? Meet The Star of Hallmark's 'Mingle All The Way'," 1 Dec. 2018 Reframing My Reflection: A Master Class in Self-Love Lili Reinhart has long been an advocate for keeping it real. Glamour, "Follow Glamour's 2018 Women of the Year Summit Live," 11 Nov. 2018 Kobach had built a national profile as an advocate of tough immigration policies and strict voter photo ID laws. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "Added Democratic ranks pose threat to Trump governing agenda," 7 Nov. 2018 As an advocate of the Time's Up movement, Meghan has often placed women at the center of her work. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Visit a Sexual Violence and Abuse Charity in Brighton," 3 Oct. 2018 Revisiting the data Barton had long been an advocate of the social brain, even co-authoring work on the hypothesis with its main proponent, Robin Dunbar. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "The evolutionary mystery of gigantic human brains," 23 Aug. 2018 By cutting itself out of China, Google has lost a seriously valuable territory with 772 million internet users in exchange for the status symbol of being an advocate of free speech. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Why Google might return to China, even if it means censorship," 3 Aug. 2018 Davids, as an advocate for LGBTQ issues, was set to speak out against Pence at the hot dog giveaway. Edward Mckinley, kansascity, "KC Health Department puts the kibosh (kielbasa?) on sausage party outside Pence event," 11 July 2018 Quanell built a name for himself as an outspoken advocate for victims of police brutality and corruption, helping criminals turn themselves in and garnering media coverage in high-profile cases. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Quanell X sued by family alleging he passed himself off as a lawyer," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Stepping out in London, the singer wore a brown shaggy faux fur coat by Stella McCartney, one of the first designers to really advocate for and design anti-fur and cruelty-free fashion. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Dua Lipa Embraces Faux Fur From Head to Toe," 25 Nov. 2018 Wikimedia remains firmly committed and will continue to advocate for an open, balanced vision for copyright which enables everyone to learn and create online. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Wikimedia calls EU copyright directive ‘a missed opportunity’," 12 Sep. 2018 Equality California, the largest branch of a national nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ rights, is among the groups planning to attend the protest. Diana Lambert, sacbee, "Derogatory column about gays to draw protesters to Dixon," 10 July 2018 Judge Foster, now the co-director of the Fines and Fees Justice Center, a nonprofit that advocates eliminating many court fees, predicted the Tennessee ruling would be a harbinger of outcomes in legal challenges in other places. New York Times, "Being Poor Can Mean Losing a Driver’s License. Not Anymore in Tennessee.," 4 July 2018 Top Apple executives have publicly advocated for the company’s decidedly editorial approach to picking news stories. Casey Newton, The Verge, "One way Twitter’s ad archive improves on Facebook’s," 3 Nov. 2018 The company's public policy team will also be advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Amazon institutes $15 minimum wage for all US employees, including temps," 2 Oct. 2018 Brian Hopkins, whose 2nd Ward includes the scrapyard, has long advocated for shutting down the business because of environmental concerns. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "General Iron to sell North Side land site, move out in 2020," 13 July 2018 Mackenzie Drazan may be known in fashion circles for her work on the runways of brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel, but her most prominent campaign is her own: advocating for mental health. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Meet the Model Who Wants to Change the Way We Talk About Mental Illness," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'advocate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of advocate

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for advocate

Noun

Middle English avocat, advocat, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin advocātus, noun derivative from past participle of advocāre "to summon, call to one's aid," from ad- ad- + vocāre "to call" — more at vocation

Verb

derivative of advocate entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about advocate

Listen to Our Podcast about advocate

Statistics for advocate

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for advocate

The first known use of advocate was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for advocate

advocate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of advocate

: a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy

: a person who works for a cause or group

: a person who argues for the cause of another person in a court of law

advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt\

Kids Definition of advocate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who argues for or supports an idea or plan peace advocates

2 : a person who argues for another especially in court

advocate

verb
ad·​vo·​cate | \ˈad-və-ˌkāt \
advocated; advocating

Kids Definition of advocate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak in favor of : argue for advocate change

advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt \

Legal Definition of advocate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person (as a lawyer) who works and argues in support of another's cause especially in court

2 : a person or group that defends or maintains a cause or proposal a consumer advocate

advocate

verb
ad·​vo·​cate | \ˈad-və-ˌkāt \
advocated; advocating

Legal Definition of advocate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to argue in favor of

intransitive verb

: to act as an advocate shall advocate for minority business— V. M. Rivera

History and Etymology for advocate

Noun

Latin advocatus adviser to a party in a lawsuit, counselor, from past participle of advocare to summon, employ as counsel, from ad to + vocare to call

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on advocate

What made you want to look up advocate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a typical or ideal example

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!