in·​cite | \ in-ˈsīt How to pronounce incite (audio) \
incited; inciting

Definition of incite

transitive verb

: to move to action : stir up : spur on : urge on

Other Words from incite

incitant \ in-​ˈsī-​tᵊnt How to pronounce incite (audio) \ noun
incitement \ in-​ˈsīt-​mənt How to pronounce incite (audio) \ noun
inciter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for incite

incite, instigate, abet, foment mean to spur to action. incite stresses a stirring up and urging on, and may or may not imply initiating. inciting a riot instigate definitely implies responsibility for initiating another's action and often connotes underhandedness or evil intention. instigated a conspiracy abet implies both assisting and encouraging. aiding and abetting the enemy foment implies persistence in goading. fomenting rebellion

Examples of incite in a Sentence

The news incited widespread fear and paranoia. the rock band's failure to show up incited a riot, as the crowd had waited for hours
Recent Examples on the Web The events incite a modern-day witch hunt as the townspeople unload their paranoia and suspicion on Sanctuary’s resident witch and her daughter in this fantasy mystery series. Breanna Bell, Variety, 10 Aug. 2022 How does that not incite you to fight for the freedoms of all people? Jeneé Osterheldt,, 4 Aug. 2022 The Saudi government has maintained in the past that its critics incite violence, broadly defined, and pose a threat to the kingdom’s security. Isabel Debre, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 July 2022 The incident also included teens shooting fireworks in the crowd and claiming there was an active shooter in an attempt to incite panic among fairgoers. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 21 Aug. 2022 Both major blooms in 2012 and 2018 happened right after 500-year rainfall events, so Sterner suspects the heavy rainfall injected the lake with enough nutrients to incite a bloom. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 12 Aug. 2022 No, the Jordan Montgomery Revenge Game may not spawn a limited Netflix series, but a strong showing against the club that traded him despite gobbling up largely quality innings will certainly incite some blathering back in New York. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2022 Chappelle has faced criticism for comments that LGBTQ advocacy groups say could incite harm against transgender people. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 20 July 2022 The prejudice against welcoming women aboard commercial or military vessels was ancient and held that women would distract male crew members and incite the wrath of the sea. Catherine Musemeche, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of incite

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incite

Middle French inciter, from Latin incitare, from in- + citare to put in motion — more at cite

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Time Traveler for incite

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The first known use of incite was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

6 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Incite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for incite


in·​cite | \ in-ˈsīt How to pronounce incite (audio) \
incited; inciting

Kids Definition of incite

: to stir up usually harmful or violent action or feeling The news incited panic.


transitive verb
in·​cite | \ in-ˈsīt How to pronounce incite (audio) \
incited; inciting

Medical Definition of incite

: to bring into being : induce to exist or occur organisms that readily incited antibody formation


transitive verb
in·​cite | \ in-ˈsīt How to pronounce incite (audio) \
incited; inciting

Legal Definition of incite

: to urge on incite a riot

Other Words from incite

incitement noun

More from Merriam-Webster on incite

Nglish: Translation of incite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incite for Arabic Speakers


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