advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio) , -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 How to pronounce advocate (audio) \
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

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Other Words from advocate

Verb

advocation \ ˌad-​və-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce advocation (audio) \ noun
advocative \ ˈad-​və-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce advocative (audio) \ 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 How to pronounce advocator (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Community groups, smaller banks and advocates for low-wage earners have been calling for the Fed to limit the delay and to create a public sector option for real-time payments. BostonGlobe.com, "Gunmakers’ stock rises following mass shootings," 6 Aug. 2019 The philanthropist and global advocate for women's rights explains through research and personal experience how empowering women can change the world. Dylan Byers, NBC News, "Byers Market: What the tech and media titans are reading this summer," 2 Aug. 2019 But Scanlon and other advocates for change say they are encouraged by the outsize role the health care debate is playing in the Democratic presidential campaign. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "With thousands of jobs at stake, Medicare for All is a complicated issue for Democrats in Hartford, the ‘Insurance Capital of the World’," 1 Aug. 2019 This realization, in addition to her experience, fueled her desire to raise awareness and advocate for changes to be made. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Allyson Felix on the Maternal Mortality Rate for Black Women: We 'Are at Risk No Matter What'," 1 Aug. 2019 Meghan also revealed that Hayek—an actress, producer, women's rights activist, and advocate for refugees—was one of her first choices to star in the issue. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Salma Hayek Couldn't Tell Anyone About Meghan Markle's British Vogue Involvement—Not Even Her Fellow Cover Stars," 1 Aug. 2019 But while many women’s rights activists were abolitionists and advocates for universal suffrage, racial biases existed within the movement. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "The Library of Congress Needs Your Help Transcribing Suffragist Papers," 31 July 2019 Just this past week, 2020 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, a staunch advocate for health care rights, traveled to Canada to make a point just how startling the disparity in drug costs really is. CBS News, "Trump administration to allow Americans to access lower-cost drugs from Canada," 31 July 2019 Shaleen Title, a prominent advocate for equity in the industry who serves on the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, said that governments need to balance public safety with an interest in managing oversight costs. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "Pot Luck," 30 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kolb, a Spalding University professor, has long advocated against police presence in schools. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Ahead of Tuesday vote, JCPS board is divided over resource officers in schools," 5 Aug. 2019 At a recent gathering in Washington, advocates held up the city, county and state as models of political will. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: If you like your healthcare plan ...," 2 Aug. 2019 De Blasio, now running for president, wound up infuriating police reform advocates, too, by allowing the department to wait for years to begin disciplinary proceedings against Pantaleo. CBS News, "NYPD judge recommends firing officer over Eric Garner's chokehold death," 2 Aug. 2019 Scenic Houston has long advocated for making the city a prettier place to live, including an ongoing battle against billboards. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Scenic Houston announces appointment of Claudia Williamson as interim president and CEO," 2 Aug. 2019 But rather than embracing unity, the opposite is being advocated by President Donald Trump, who has established an election platform of divisiveness and rancor. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 Halloween has long terrified parents and consumer safety advocates for different reasons: People flooding the streets at night raises the risk of pedestrian deaths. Scottie Andrew And Brian Ries, CNN, "The people behind that Halloween petition want to create a new holiday: National Trick or Treat Day," 31 July 2019 Meanwhile, Felix was advocating for new moms not just in the workplace, but in the healthcare system as well. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "An Olympic medalist who split with Nike over maternity rights has found a new sponsor," 31 July 2019 The assault and victim’s identity were well known amongst the victims’ rights advocates community, as well as employees within the DOC’s Victim Services and Restorative Justice Unit. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "Embattled former corrections official fires back, but doesn’t deny she leaked ID of sex assault victim," 30 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for advocate

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for advocate

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

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More Definitions for advocate

advocate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of advocate

: a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy
US : 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 How to pronounce advocate (audio) , -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 How to pronounce advocate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce advocate (audio) \

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 How to pronounce advocate (audio) \
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

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