advocate

1 of 2

noun

ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio) -ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
1
: one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal
an advocate of liberal arts education
2
: 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
3
: one who pleads the cause of another
specifically : one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court

advocate

2 of 2

verb

ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
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

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
advocation noun
advocative adjective
Its mission is now more advocative—to represent business interests on local, state and national issues that affect the Southland. Nancy Yoshihara
advocator noun

Did you know?

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 (it dates back to at least the early 16th century), 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.

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
That's how advocates and stakeholders are describing the charges filed against nine state correctional staff for their treatment of two men who died at Waupun Correctional Institution. Vanessa Swales, Journal Sentinel, 13 June 2024 Pediatricians and advocates say one simple strategy could dramatically reduce the number of children who are killed: Secure firearm storage. Dr. Michelle March, ABC News, 13 June 2024
Verb
Pollack has since successfully advocated for ending a unanimous jury requirement in death penalty sentencing after a divided 9-3 jury spared the life of Cruz. Michael Dorgan, Fox News, 15 June 2024 The Home Is Here Coalition led a march outside of Washington, D.C., to fight for the continuation of DACA and advocate for the Biden administration to protect it. Erick Trevino, The Arizona Republic, 14 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for advocate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'advocate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near advocate

Cite this Entry

“Advocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advocate. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

advocate

1 of 2 noun
ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio)
-ˌkāt
1
: a person who argues for the cause of another especially in a court of law
2
: a person who argues for, recommends, or supports a cause or policy

advocate

2 of 2 verb
ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
advocated; advocating
: to speak in favor of : argue for
Etymology

Noun

Middle English advocat "one that pleads a case for another (in court)," from early French advocat (same meaning), from Latin advocatus (same meaning), derived from advocare "to call to one's aid, summon," from ad- "to, toward, near" and vocare "to call" — related to provoke, revoke, vocation

Legal Definition

advocate

1 of 2 noun
ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
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

2 of 2 verb
ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
advocated; advocating

transitive verb

: to argue in favor of

intransitive verb

: to act as an advocate
shall advocate for minority businessV. M. Rivera
Etymology

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

More from Merriam-Webster on advocate

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