invoke

verb
in·voke | \in-ˈvōk \
invoked; invoking

Definition of invoke 

transitive verb

1a : to petition for help or support

b : to appeal to or cite as authority

2 : to call forth by incantation : conjure

3 : to make an earnest request for : solicit

4 : to put into effect or operation : implement

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Other Words from invoke

invoker noun

evoke or invoke?

Don’t feel bad if you have difficulty remembering the difference between evoke and invoke, as the words are quite similar in many ways and have considerable overlap in meaning. However, the words do differ, and you would not want to substitute one for the other. Invoke is used of putting into effect or calling upon such things as laws, authority, or privilege (“the principal invoked a rule forbidding students from asking questions”). Evoke is primarily used in the sense “to call forth or up” and is often found in connection with such things as memories, emotions, or sympathy.

Examples of invoke in a Sentence

Nietzsche is so complex that he can be invoked in support of many outlooks, some of them brutal or nihilistic. — Thomas Nagel, New Republic, 14 Jan. 2002 There are some people who commit murder as a way of invoking the death penalty. Capital punishment can sometimes, then, be equivalent to suicide. — George Freeman Solomon, People, 17 Jan. 1977 We began poring over the typewritten recipes at the dining room table, where I foolishly invoked the name of Julia Child … — Gael Greene, New York, 13 Sept. 1971 He invoked the memory of his predecessor. She invoked history to prove her point. He invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges. The suspect invoked his right to an attorney. invoke the authority of the court
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Recent Examples on the Web

Political observers who are alarmed by President Trump’s tariffs have invoked the Smoot Hawley tariffs that were blamed for deepening the Great Depression in the 1930s. Michael Joe Murphy, OrlandoSentinel.com, "World trade — what everyone needs to know," 11 July 2018 Moore’s biggest hit, invoked the only dance party of his set; naturally, patrons raised their $7.50 cans of Miller Lite high in the air. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Best and worst of Summerfest Day 10: Kip Moore, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Phantogram & more," 7 July 2018 In defending the family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a Bible passage invoked by defenders of slavery. Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, "A church put Jesus, Mary and Joseph in ‘ICE detention’ to protest Trump’s immigration policies," 3 July 2018 Some tech workers involved in the protests invoke IBM’s work for Nazi Germany in the years leading up to World War II. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "Why Tech Worker Dissent Is Going Viral," 29 June 2018 Our unspeakable treatment of migrant children and flippant disregard for their safety should invoke moral outrage. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Separating Children From Parents is Shocking And Inhumane — It Is Also An American Tradition," 22 June 2018 His order invoked a federal law called Title 32, under which governors retain command and control of Guard members from their states. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Governors pull National Guard troops from border to protest Trump's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy," 19 June 2018 Energy experts say that invoking the act to benefit coal or any other industry that is struggling financially because of unfavorable market forces would be a sweeping and unprecedented use of the law. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump urged to use Korean War-era law to provide relief for struggling coal, nuclear plants," 3 May 2018 That is a section of the treaty invoked last year by Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain setting a two-year deadline for withdrawal from the bloc. New York Times, BostonGlobe.com, "Lawmakers say Britain should consider delaying EU exit," 18 Mar. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for invoke

Middle English envoken, from Middle French invoquer, from Latin invocare, from in- + vocare to call, from voc-, vox voice — more at voice

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Statistics for invoke

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for invoke

The first known use of invoke was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for invoke

invoke

verb

English Language Learners Definition of invoke

: to mention (someone or something) in an attempt to make people feel a certain way or have a certain idea in their mind

: to refer to (something) in support of your ideas

: to make use of (a law, a right, etc.)

invoke

verb
in·voke | \in-ˈvōk \
invoked; invoking

Kids Definition of invoke

1 : to ask for aid or protection (as in prayer)

2 : to call forth by magic invoke spirits

3 : to appeal to as an authority or for support She invoked the Sunday rule as soon as he returned from the skateboard park and a family outing was launched.— Carl Hiaasen, Hoot

in·voke | \in-ˈvōk \
invoked; invoking

Legal Definition of invoke 

1 : to appeal to as furnishing authority or motive

2 : to put into legal effect or call for the observance of : enforce invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege

3 : to introduce or put into operation invoking economic sanctions

4 : to be the cause of regulations that invoke problems in enforcement

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Comments on invoke

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to reject or criticize sharply

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