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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from advocate

Verb

advocation \ ˌad-​və-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce advocate (audio) \ noun
advocative \ ˈad-​və-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce advocate (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 \ ˈad-​və-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce advocate (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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 2018, the Autry opened an exhibition that explored the work of McKay’s mother, Mabel, who in addition to being a celebrated basket weaver had also been an important advocate for Indigenous knowledge and artifacts in California. Los Angeles Times, "Marshall McKay, Indigenous leader who helped steer Autry Museum, dies of COVID-19 at 68," 2 Jan. 2021 Ayala has emerged as an anti-violence advocate and this month led a vigil for slain toddler Carmelo. Washington Post, "Homicides in D.C. hit 15-year high; shootings also have spiked," 1 Jan. 2021 In Good Company was launched by Ashleigh Ferran, an advocate for eliminating the use of single-use food and beverage containers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "The Dish: San Diego entrepreneurs bringing sustainable seafood and packaged meals to local doorsteps," 29 Dec. 2020 In an interview, Maureen Reintjes, an advocate in Kansas City for families with missing relatives, reflected on the impact of those cases. Michael Schulson/undark, Popular Science, "Our best missing persons database could disappear in a few months," 28 Dec. 2020 Munoz found an advocate in Alice Johnson, the Tennessee grandmother featured in a Super Bowl commercial spotlighting President Trump’s record on criminal justice issues. Talia Kaplan, Fox News, "Texas woman on President Trump commuting her remaining term of supervised release from prison," 28 Dec. 2020 Liza Tucker, an advocate with Consumer Watchdog, said the surge during 2020 appeared to be an effort by oil companies to improve their attractiveness to investors. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "California approved far more permits to drill oil, gas wells in 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 Haaland is an original Green New Deal sponsor and an advocate for transitioning the U.S. to 100% clean energy. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "From picks to policy: Here's what Biden's key appointments mean for his administration," 24 Dec. 2020 An advocate for health protections in industrial laundries, Torres was a lead sponsor of the Clean Act, a local law which set sanitary standards for industrial laundries in 2016. Jacqueline Davalos, Bloomberg.com, "Hospital Laundry Workers Fear Their Infection Risk Is Rising," 21 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Others took the opportunity to advocate for keeping Herman staffers like recruiting coordinator Bryan Carrington, strength and conditioning coach Jay Valai, defensive coordinator Chris Ash and several others. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Current and former Longhorns react to Texas firing Tom Herman," 2 Jan. 2021 Some, such as Vox’s Aaron Rupar, pointed to an October video where the then-candidate had the audacity to advocate for reopening the economy while maintaining state and federal precautions on coronavirus. Ellen Carmichael, National Review, "Journalists’ Behavior over Luke Letlow’s Passing Is Abhorrent — and Telling," 30 Dec. 2020 Parents stand on both sides of the debate, but Black and Latino families appear more likely to advocate to keep schools closed. Washington Post, "Are schools safe? A growing body of evidence suggests that, with the right measures, they contribute little to virus spread.," 30 Dec. 2020 Parents stand on both sides of the debate, but Black and Latino families appear more likely to advocate to keep schools closed. Moriah Balingit, Anchorage Daily News, "Growing evidence suggests schools contribute little to virus spread, if they have the right rules in place," 30 Dec. 2020 Since McCall's resignation, Brown promised to make the public records advocate truly independent. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Investigation claims Oregon governor’s chief counsel did no wrong in public records debacle," 28 Dec. 2020 My focus now is to advocate for a vaccine plan for individuals with disabilities in short order. Star Tribune, "As 2020 ends, problem-solving Minnesotans offer reasons for hope," 25 Dec. 2020 Oregon’s public records advocate works to resolve conflicts between members of the public and government workers over public records requests. oregonlive, "Outside lawyer finds former public records advocate’s allegations against Oregon governor’s former top lawyer ‘unsubstantiated’," 24 Dec. 2020 Their job is to listen well, ask good questions, surface insights, and advocate for solutions, all while keeping individual discussions confidential and making sure every team member feels heard. Justin Goff, Quartz at Work, "How “product therapy” made our team happier and more effective," 22 Dec. 2020

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 at transitive sense

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

Time Traveler for advocate

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about advocate

Statistics for advocate

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Advocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advocate. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for advocate

advocate

noun
How to pronounce advocate (audio)

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

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

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!