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

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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 The incoming administration is contemplating state mask mandates, free testing for everyone and invocation of the Defense Production Act to ramp up supplies of protective gear for health workers. Apoorva Mandavilli, New York Times, "Dr. Céline Gounder, Adviser to Biden, on the Next Covid Attack Plan," 16 Nov. 2020 His invocation of multilateralism has become a mainstay of China’s overtures to U.S. allies. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "China jeopardizes shot at reset under Biden presidency with latest Hong Kong crackdown," 12 Nov. 2020 Rabbi Michael Aaronsohn of Cincinnati, who had been blinded by an artillery shell, gave the invocation. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, "'We will have our voice heard': Founded in Cincinnati, Disabled American Veterans honors 100th anniversary," 11 Nov. 2020 Veterans Ralph Wadsworth and Thomas Latham raised the flags for the United States and Prisoners of War, and Family Cathedral Pastor Harry Sewell offered an invocation. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, "New memorial pays tribute to 47 Mesquite veterans who made ‘the ultimate sacrifice’," 10 Nov. 2020 An examination of judicial decisions and court filings in more than 150 cases suggests its invocation won’t necessarily benefit one party or the other. Ian Macdougall, ProPublica, "Why Bush v. Gore Still Matters in 2020," 1 Nov. 2020 With his invocation of seamlessness, weaving and fabric, Weiser nodded, probably unconsciously, toward a far older, equally ubiquitous and rarely acknowledged technology: textiles. Virginia Postrel, WSJ, "The World-Changing Technology of Textiles," 23 Oct. 2020 Patrick Kearon, a member of the faith’s Presidency of the Seventy, offered the invocation, pleading with God for an end to the pandemic, seeking heaven’s blessings on those who are ill or grieving, and urging a return to civility in public life. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Latest from LDS General Conference: All-virtual session underway, with leaders wearing masks," 3 Oct. 2020 Biden’s invocation of the phrase is hardly original among English speakers. Washington Post, "‘Inshallah’: The Arabic ‘fuggedaboudit’ Biden dropped to blast Trump on tax returns during the debate," 30 Sep. 2020

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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Statistics for invocation

Last Updated

13 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Invocation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for invocation


How to pronounce invocation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of invocation

formal : the act of mentioning or referring to someone or something in support of your ideas : the act of invoking something
literary : the act of asking for help or support especially from a god
US : 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

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