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

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Other Words from incite

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

Perhaps this bulletin-board material will incite players and coaches alike to prove your paper’s most disagreeable writer is full of hogwash. Los Angeles Times, "Letters: One W isn’t wonderful for Trojans fans," 6 Sep. 2019 They were arrested on charges related to inciting others to participate in and taking part in an unlawful assembly, according to local broadcaster RTHK. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "Hong Kong begins rounding up high-profile pro-democracy activists," 30 Aug. 2019 Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders incite violence today using similar falsehoods and ideology. Douglas J. Feith, National Review, "The Hebron Riots of 1929: Consequences and Lessons," 27 Aug. 2019 The case was the inciting incident that led to the lawsuit against Davis. Sarah Brookbank,, "How many times was Cincinnati's Obergefell case mentioned in Friday's Kim Davis decision? A lot.," 23 Aug. 2019 The Dress That Broke the Internet: In February, a simple question about the color of a bodycon dress almost broke the Internet, inciting arguments across the globe. Newsweek Special Edition, Newsweek, "Forward Thinking: 2015's Most Groundbreaking Innovations," 13 Dec. 2015 Two postseason losses completed the sweet-and-sour kaleidoscope, which continued with a large offseason contract extension for Malzahn and a 2018 season that incited plenty of fan discontent. Christopher Smith, al, "Auburn’s running game will determine the Tigers’ 2019 betting value," 21 Aug. 2019 James Harper, 31, was unarmed on July 24, 2012, when he was shot to death by Officer Brian Rowden in an incident that nearly incited riots in the Dixon Circle community of South Dallas. Lavendrick Smith, Dallas News, "Civil trial begins in Dallas police shooting that nearly triggered riot in Dixon Circle," 21 Aug. 2019 The site prohibits videos that include or incite abuse toward animals. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "LAPD investigating YouTuber who appeared to abuse dog in video," 7 Aug. 2019

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 2019

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 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.
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

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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

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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

Comments on incite

What made you want to look up incite? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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