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

In Poland, where a global conference on climate change is currently taking place, coal advocates and Trump associates are trying to play up coal's role as a viable energy option for the future. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "As US coal use drops to 1979 levels, EPA may ease rules on new coal plants," 5 Dec. 2018 Yet why not play devil’s advocate here for a moment and wonder if FIFA is on to something? Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "No one cares about the pointless World Cup bronze playoff. So FIFA should scrap it," 12 July 2018 Consumer advocates and Democrats in Congress were properly appalled at the administration’s latest act of sabotage. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "In another act of sabotage, Trump slashes Obamacare outreach funding to the bone," 10 July 2018 Advertising Meanwhile the city is being sued by left-leaning advocates, and criticized by business groups and neighborhoods, for its approach to removing unsanctioned camps. Scott Greenstone, The Seattle Times, "Homeless shelters that can be built in around 20 minutes without tools. Did political theater in Seattle this week showcase a practical solution?," 13 Apr. 2019 But thankfully, pro-gun advocates are not the majority, so the lobby is forced to operate in silence. Zac Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "New Zealand Banned Guns After Thoughts and Prayers. Why Can’t America?," 23 Mar. 2019 But the move has received criticism from consumer advocates, as well as the agency’s lone Democratic commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "FCC approves new text message rules, giving carriers more power," 12 Dec. 2018 Penn, a 31-year-old British skipper and ocean advocate, founded the organization in 2014 with environmental scientist and experienced yachtswoman Dr. Lucy Gilliam, 39. Tyler Wetherall, Condé Nast Traveler, "The All-Women Sailing Crew Trying to Save the Ocean of Plastic," 27 Nov. 2018 The women who were brought to the Dilley detention center could consult with pro bono legal advocates, like Sarah. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis attorney returns from border with stories she could not 'fathom'," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

As the Families Belong Together rally marched through Boston Common on Saturday, another group of demonstrators gathered nearby to advocate against another family separation issue on the other side of the globe. Jacob Geanous, BostonGlobe.com, "Korean-Americans call for peace treaty to end family separation," 30 June 2018 What our political parties need most right now are people who will proudly identify as a member of that party, and are willing to advocate from within that party on issues of disagreement. Michael Wear, Time, "Don't Quit the Republican Party. Stay and Fight," 22 June 2018 Learning to advocate for myself in systems that are not built for low-income and first-generation students of color has inspired me to be an advocate for others. refinery29.com, "Losing Both My Parents Didn’t Stop Me From Obtaining A College Education," 20 June 2018 Most of all, Jamil advocated self-love, and the importance of looking after yourself. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jameela Jamil Got Told She Was "Too Old, Too Fat, & Too Ethnic" for Hollywood," 14 Apr. 2019 From nationwide programs to local school clubs, there are plenty of ways to support (and advocate for) girls in STEM. Shannon Willoby, Redbook, "Why Girls Need More Mentors in STEM," 8 Mar. 2019 Your responses on everything from learning how to advocate for yourself in the face of adversity to destigmatizing mental illness, showed us how young people can and will change the world. Shao Xinning, Seventeen, "This Teen Created Her Own Pen Pal Service in Order to Connect Girls Across China," 18 Mar. 2019 Such outfits, on both left and right, are expanding rapidly on campuses and recruiting students to advocate for their ideological agendas. Daniel M. Bring, WSJ, "The College ‘Grass-Roots’ Organizations That Aren’t," 8 Mar. 2019 Flex workers, meanwhile, have no collective bargaining power and little, if any, means to advocate for higher wages or more humane working conditions. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Amazon is cutting costs with its own delivery service — but its drivers don’t receive benefits," 26 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.

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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

16 May 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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