invoke

verb
in·​voke | \ in-ˈvōk How to pronounce invoke (audio) \
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

This isn’t the first time the slaughter of 6 million Jews has been invoked to draw attention to a cause or criticize a foe. David Montero, latimes.com, "Some Holocaust survivors oppose 'concentration camp' comments. But they're also upset by treatment of migrants," 28 June 2019 For example, the charge was invoked in a 2017 case when several teenagers were involved in a gun deal-gone-bad near Railroad Park. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al.com, "Charges in Marshae Jones case explained," 28 June 2019 In contrast defense waivers of the Jones Act, invoked by the Pentagon are almost routine. Debra Cagan, Houston Chronicle, "Comment: In maintaining Jones Act, the winner is Putin," 19 June 2019 The nostalgia invoked by countless Brexiters to get ‘back to how things used to be’ is felt only by those whose futures do not depend on the forward march of social progression. Phoebe Potter, refinery29.com, "Tory Leadership Candidates Calling Themselves "Feminist" Is Meaningless," 10 June 2019 The law took effect in July but is only now being invoked in cases moving through courthouses. Dan Morse, baltimoresun.com, "Four women say he raped them after they’d passed out. Will a new Maryland law enable all four to testify?," 10 June 2019 The provision was invoked only once, in support of the U.S. after the 2001 attacks. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "What is NATO and why is Donald Trump slamming it?," 12 July 2018 O’Neill tracked him down at a family member’s house, offered a nickel bag of pot as a peace offering, and was subjected to a tirade the second Tate’s name was invoked. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "Everything you need to know about the explosive new Manson murders exposé Chaos," 16 June 2019 The vice president – currently Mike Pence, left – plays a crucial role if the 25th Amendment is invoked. The Conversation, oregonlive.com, "Here’s an expert’s opinion on why Trump haters shouldn’t expect help from 25th Amendment," 15 June 2019

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

12 Jul 2019

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

formal
: 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 How to pronounce invoke (audio) \
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 How to pronounce invoke (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on invoke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with invoke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for invoke

Spanish Central: Translation of invoke

Nglish: Translation of invoke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invoke for Arabic Speakers

Comments on invoke

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