in·​vo·​ca·​tion | \ˌin-və-ˈkā-shən \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from invocation

invocational \ˌin-​və-​ˈkā-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
invocatory \in-​ˈvä-​kə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Scholars and judges have continued to disagree over whether the Constitution should be interpreted to forbid religious symbols on government property or religious invocations at government meetings. David G. Savage,, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lauded late Chief Justice Rehnquist for dissenting in Roe vs. Wade and supporting school prayer," 11 July 2018 Officials there argued that the country would not be willing to give up its nuclear weapons capability in return for economic aid from the U.S. North Korea takes issue with the invocation of Libya. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Mike Pence As a 'Political Dummy:' How U.S.-North Korea Talks Reverted to Name-Calling and Nuclear Threats," 24 May 2018 Held March 8 at the Audubon Tea Room, the event's official program started with the invocation by the Very Rev. Jose I. Lavastida S.T.D., who was the recipient of the Dennis Cuneo Endowed Scholarship (Lavastida is studying law). Sue Strachan,, "Loyola University Scholarship Dinner brings together donors and students," 5 Apr. 2018 Such a reckoning occurs, but in an effectively surprising way — director Ferenc Török departs from the High Noon arc, and finds a way to end the movie with an invocation of violence, rather than an eruption of it. Gary Thompson,, "'High Noon' meets the Holocaust? Somehow it works in '1945'," 4 Apr. 2018 Monday’s ceremony began with American and Indiana flags flying at half-staff, as American Legion Post 54 chaplain Rich Ingram offered the invocation. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Fallen honored at Hobart Memorial Day ceremony," 28 May 2018 Land, an Army veteran of World War II, opened Apopka council meetings with a greeting, a religious invocation, the Pledge and a historical event which occurred in the past on or near the meeting date. Stephen Hudak,, "In a twist on tradition, new Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson turns to school kids for history lesson," 7 May 2018 But some invocations, like Mrs. Cosby’s, have been questionable. New York Times, "With Emmett Till Reference, Camille Cosby Invokes Oft-Used Cultural Touchstone," 4 May 2018 The ceremony will include participants dressed in Civil War regulation uniforms, a rifle salute, the sounding of taps and an invocation by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Historical marker honoring Civil War veterans at Calvary Cemetery to be dedicated on Gettysburg anniversary," 29 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about invocation

Share invocation

Dictionary Entries near invocation








Statistics for invocation

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for invocation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Legal Definition of invocation 

1 : a calling upon for authority or justification

2 : an act of legal implementation an invocation of the contract clause

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on invocation

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


to enclose within walls

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!