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

This distortion was exacerbated by a common practice incited by the erroneous belief that women spoke more softly than men: engineers automatically turned up the volume knob when a woman took her place behind the mic. Tina Tallon, The New Yorker, "A Century of “Shrill”: How Bias in Technology Has Hurt Women’s Voices," 3 Sep. 2019 Trump was slapped with a lawsuit alleging that his comments incited the assault, but an appeals court dismissed that part of the suit. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "President Donald Trump is visiting Louisville. Here's what you need to know," 20 Aug. 2019 Police said that Jones, who was five months pregnant at the time, incited the fight about the baby's father. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Prosecutors drop case against Alabama woman charged with her fetus's death," 3 July 2019 Kwok said police would act sternly against anyone out to create trouble or incite violence. Washington Post, "Latest: Trump: Trade war makes China cautious in Hong Kong," 30 Aug. 2019 His explanation ignores both the evidence at hand and his own role in inciting violence and blocking gun safety. Andrew Romanoff, The Denver Post, "Romanoff: It’s not mental health causing these mass shootings and we need someone in the Senate who knows that," 12 Aug. 2019 The teens-- ages 14 to 15-- are charged with aggravated rioting, inciting violence, disorderly conduct and vandalism, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said at a news conference on Thursday. Adam Ferrise,, "7 teens charged in riot at Juvenile Detention Center," 18 Jan. 2018 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

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

12 Oct 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

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