1

advocate

noun ad·vo·cate \ ˈad-və-kət , -ˌkāt \
Updated on: 20 Nov 2017

Definition of advocate

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 was our Word of the Day on 01/09/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of advocate in a Sentence

  1. … 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 News1 Dec. 2003
  2. Ms. Hart was familiar with local medical-review policies from her work as a patient advocate. —Laurie McGinleyWall Street Journal16 Sept. 2003
  3. a passionate advocate of civil rights

  4. She works as a consumer advocate.

Recent Examples of advocate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of advocate

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


2

advocate

verb ad·vo·cate \ ˈad-və-ˌkāt \

Definition of advocate

advocated; advocating
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

advocation

play \ˌad-və-ˈkā-shən\ noun

advocative

play \ˈad-və-ˌkā-tiv\ adjective

advocator

play \-ˌkā-tər\ noun

Examples of advocate in a Sentence

  1. … 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 BlueBon AppétitNovember 1997
  2. He advocated the creation of a public promenade along the sea, with arbors and little green tables for the consumption of beer … —Henry JamesThe American1877
  3. He advocates traditional teaching methods.

  4. The plan is advocated by the president.

Recent Examples of advocate from the Web

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.

Benjamin Franklin Wasn't a Fan of advocate

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.

Origin and Etymology of advocate

derivative of 1advocate

Synonym Discussion of advocate

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

ADVOCATE Defined for English Language Learners

advocate

noun

Definition of advocate for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

advocate

noun ad·vo·cate \ ˈad-və-kət , -ˌkāt \

Definition of advocate for Students

1 : a person who argues for or supports an idea or plan
  • peace advocates
2 : a person who argues for another especially in court

2

advocate

verb ad·vo·cate \ ˈad-və-ˌkāt \

Definition of advocate for Students

advocated; advocating
: to speak in favor of : argue for
  • advocate change

Law Dictionary

1

advocate

noun ad·vo·cate \ ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt \

legal Definition of advocate

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

Origin and Etymology of advocate

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


2

advocate

verb ad·vo·cate \ ˈad-və-ˌkāt \

legal Definition of advocate

advocated; advocating
transitive verb
: to argue in favor of
intransitive verb
: to act as an advocate
  • shall advocate for minority business
  • —V. M. Rivera


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