in·​vo·​ca·​tion | \ ˌin-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce invocation (audio) \

Definition of invocation

1a : the act or process of petitioning for help or support specifically, often capitalized : a prayer of entreaty (as at the beginning of a service of worship)
b : a calling upon for authority or justification
2 : a formula for conjuring : incantation
3 : an act of legal or moral implementation : enforcement

Other Words from invocation

invocational \ ˌin-​və-​ˈkā-​shnəl How to pronounce invocation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
invocatory \ in-​ˈvä-​kə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce invocation (audio) \ adjective

Examples of invocation in a Sentence

his repeated invocations of the ancient philosophers justifying his position by invocation of the past The poem begins with an invocation of the Muses. They began the meeting with an invocation.
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Recent Examples on the Web Saturday’s observance will begin a 9:30 a.m., with an invocation, brief comments by Sode and a moment of silence. Gregory Harutunian,, 8 Sep. 2021 The ex-president's invocation of the privilege is not a sufficient basis to take the law into your own hands and simply refuse to show up, as Bannon did. Norman Eisen, Joanna Lydgate, CNN, 18 Nov. 2021 This was a fulfillment of their obligations after the Sept. 11 terror attack led to the first invocation of the mutual self-defense clause in NATO’s founding treaty. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2021 Her reputation has only grown in recent decades, aided by a spate of biographies and books, a play about her life, and even an invocation of Hamer by then-Sen. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Before the start of the various summit sessions, Tree of Life’s Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers spoke to the audience and offered an invocation. David Rullo,, 20 Oct. 2021 Kimmel then pointed to Rodgers’ invocation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said individuals have no moral obligation to follow unjust laws. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 9 Nov. 2021 But Manchin’s invocation was ironic for another reason: no Democrat has ever understood better than F.D.R. the ability of corporate interests to seize political power. Dan Kaufman, The New Yorker, 26 Oct. 2021 Biden’s invocation of FDR was never just about rebuilding the country after Covid-19. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 27 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'invocation.' 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 invocation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for invocation

Middle English invocacioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French invocation, from Latin invocation-, invocatio, from invocare

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Time Traveler for invocation

Time Traveler

The first known use of invocation was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Invocation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for invocation



English Language Learners Definition of invocation

: the act of mentioning or referring to someone or something in support of your ideas : the act of invoking something
: the act of asking for help or support especially from a god
: a prayer for blessing or guidance at the beginning of a service, ceremony, etc.


in·​vo·​ca·​tion | \ ˌin-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce invocation (audio) \

Legal Definition of invocation

1 : a calling upon for authority or justification
2 : an act of legal implementation an invocation of the contract clause

More from Merriam-Webster on invocation

Nglish: Translation of invocation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invocation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about invocation


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