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

Tamiflu has its scientific advocates (Dr. Brown is not one of them), but the best clinical evaluations suggest that the drug shortens the course of an attack of the disease by only one day. William F. Bynum, WSJ, "‘Pandemic 1918’ and ‘Influenza’ Review: Fire, Ice or Virus?," 4 Jan. 2019 The royal is an outspoken advocate for scoliosis awareness and recently posted X-rays on her instagram to share her journey with the disease. Sally Holmes, Marie Claire, "Why Princess Eugenie Didn't Wear a Veil for Her Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 Its advocates believe that roughly 30 Republican senators could be supportive, Politico’s Burgess Everett has reported, while detractors like Cotton argue that the real number is much lower. Li Zhou, Vox, "Republicans’ civil war over criminal justice reform, explained," 12 Dec. 2018 Her mother Edna Fischel Gellhorn was a tireless advocate for the disenfranchised, championing women’s suffrage, child welfare laws, and free health clinics. Paula Mclain, Town & Country, "The Extraordinary Life of Martha Gellhorn, the Woman Ernest Hemingway Tried to Erase," 12 July 2018 Most of the people currently supporting the cellular agriculture movement are animal rights advocates. Joi Ito, WIRED, "Fake Meat, Served Six Ways," 2 July 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The president advocated for a border wall by pointing to a case in which an undocumented immigrant allegedly killed a police officer. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "President Donald Trump Tweeted Incessantly Over the Holiday Break," 2 Jan. 2019 The Floridas’ work advocates for the importance of cultivating urban environments that foster creative growth and innovation. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Cool Girl’s Guide to Toronto," 27 Dec. 2018 Some experts advocate for diagnosing BPD in adolescents while others prefer to wait until adulthood. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "13 Facts Everyone Should Know About Borderline Personality Disorder," 5 Dec. 2018 Nutritionists instead advocate following a Mediterranean-style eating plan to lose weight. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Ketogenic Diets Are B.S. for Weight Loss — Here's Why," 20 July 2018 At a meeting in February, Pat Morrison, the union’s representative on the OSHA rule-writing committee, advocated applying the new emergency responder rules to all states. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Firefighters protect us. Who protects them?," 13 July 2018 With his family’s situation in mind, Salas advocates for a single-payer system akin to Canada’s. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "With ACA under attack, a family racked by illness wonders what will happen to their health coverage," 13 July 2018 But few Spaniards advocate that, and they are divided on Franco’s exhumation. Joseph Zeballos-roig, The New Republic, "How to Dig Up a Dictator," 11 July 2018 Less than a week before Trump’s sit down with Putin, Stoltenberg advocated communicating with Russia. Tessa Berenson / Brussels, Time, "Russia Casts Shadow Over President Trump's NATO Meetings," 11 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

10 Jan 2019

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 person who helps groups work together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!