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

Prince William took to the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos this Wednesday, joining an impressive line-up of mental health advocates from around the globe. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince William Has an Interesting Theory About Why the British Have Trouble Expressing Emotion," 23 Jan. 2019 Missile-defense advocates think more modern solid state and fiber lasers fired from higher altitudes could do the trick. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Wars' Lite? We Explain Trump's Missile Defense Strategy," 17 Jan. 2019 Many affordable housing advocates say NIMBYism contributes to rising housing costs, so Carson’s support of YIMBY-ism is a both a zig and a zag. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "HUD won one court battle, lost another under Ben Carson in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Credit: Metropolitan Police Privacy advocates have come out strongly against the technology’s use in the UK. James Vincent, The Verge, "UK police are testing facial recognition on Christmas shoppers in London this week," 18 Dec. 2018 However, the companies and other advocates pushing 5G argue that this will be a greater seismic shift than previous new standards. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple will skip 5G in 2019, report says," 3 Dec. 2018 More on chronic illness: Watch how this lupus advocate finds beauty in illness: Follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter for daily beauty stories delivered right to your inbox. Ilana Kaplan, Allure, "Selma Blair Reveals She Has Multiple Sclerosis in Heartfelt Post," 22 Oct. 2018 Blevins' death prompted earlier demonstrations and community advocates demanded transparency and urged the swift release of body camera footage. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Minneapolis police release footage of fatal shooting of armed man; officers won't face charges," 2 Oct. 2018 One of Judith's biggest advocates from the start was Nancy Botkin, who spent 24 years working in Texas prisons and was the warden at Hilltop for eight years before retiring in 2004. Erin Quinn-kong, Woman's Day, "This Texas Organization Uses Books to Reconnect Female Prison Inmates With Their Children," 23 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ordinarily, of course, the shoes tend to be on the opposite feet, with Democrats advocating stricter regulation and Republicans defending free-market policies. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Republicans are mad at Google for search bias—will they do anything about it?," 12 Dec. 2018 With this year expected to set a global carbon emissions record, advocates plead that there’s no time to delay ambitious plans and immediate action. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "As cities confront climate change, is density the answer?," 11 Dec. 2018 Cardinal Tong, however, advocated for the reopening of China-Vatican dialogue. Violet Law, The Seattle Times, "Advocate of China-Vatican dialogue named Hong Kong bishop," 7 Jan. 2019 Lee also publicly advocated for the storytelling potential in video games, famously saying the medium had surpassed film itself in the late aughts. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Legendary Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee has died," 12 Nov. 2018 Shoup has long advocated for cities to better manage on-street parking by limiting the number of permits to the number of spaces available — and raising prices. Caitlin Mccabe, Philly.com, "Philadelphia has 2,172,896 parking spaces. So how come you're still circling the block?," 12 July 2018 Brown has long advocated the transfer option as a cheaper alternative to a four-year degree. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: A big change at the University of California," 12 July 2018 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

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

7 Feb 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
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 , -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

irregularly rounded

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!