in·cite | \ in-ˈsīt \
incited; inciting

Definition of incite 

transitive verb

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

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Other words from incite

incitant \in-ˈsī-tᵊnt \ noun
incitement \in-ˈsīt-mənt \ 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

Most of the discussions in these communities revolve around routine parenting questions, the kind that can incite small flame wars but are ultimately just a matter of preference. Renee Diresta, WIRED, "The Complexity of Simply Searching for Medical Advice," 3 July 2018 No more inequality that incites violence, and no more silence. Patrick Crowley, Billboard, "FLETCHER Shares #MeToo-Inspired Track 'I Believe You' With Poignant Open Letter: 'I'm Listening, We All Are'," 9 Mar. 2018 Spurning their mothers’ instructions, Willa’s son Dylan and the wild child Gren become friends, inadvertently inciting a bloody confrontation during a Christmas party. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Depraved and Beautiful Dream of the World," 12 July 2018 This can range from pretty easy to completely ludicrous, depending on what specifically incites your eczema. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do About Eczema on Your Eyelid," 3 July 2018 The company consumes 25% of the world’s hazelnut supply, and Nutella’s dedicated enthusiasts are near dogmatic about the spread’s taste, so much so that a slight adjustment to the recipe in 2017 incited a global outcry on the internet. Wilder Davies, Time, "Lindt Has a Chocolate Hazelnut Spread to Help You Make Every Meal Dessert," 3 July 2018 But the film retained the underlying storyline of The Front Page, with its farcical mash-up of political corruption, criminal haplessness and journalistic ruthlessness in pursuit of the ever-elusive, adrenaline-inciting scoop. Julia M. Klein,, "'His Girl Friday' at Hedgerow: Fast talk, fast pace," 2 July 2018 She was concerned that this article in particular could incite others to act in a discriminatory manner toward the LGBTQ community. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Vice mayor of Dixon defends column celebrating straight pride, calling gay men fairies," 30 June 2018 Who knew a soccer tournament could incite such controversy? Aja Hoggatt,, "Fox apologizes for Robbie Williams's middle finger at FIFA World Cup opening ceremony," 14 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for incite

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incite

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

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More Definitions for incite



English Language Learners Definition of incite

: to cause (someone) to act in an angry, harmful, or violent way

: to cause (an angry, harmful, or violent action or feeling)


in·cite | \ in-ˈsīt \
incited; inciting

Kids Definition of incite

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

in·cite | \ in-ˈsīt \
incited; inciting

Medical Definition of incite 

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

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in·cite | \ in-ˈsīt \
incited; inciting

Legal Definition of incite 

: to urge on incite a riot

Other words from incite

incitement noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on incite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incite

Spanish Central: Translation of incite

Nglish: Translation of incite for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incite for Arabic Speakers

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