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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web It’s probably not a spiritually safe practice to invoke karma in one sentence before wishing someone death in the next, but moving on. al, "Alabama’s lt. governor is COVID-positive. Y’all don’t be so negative.," 22 Oct. 2020 Esper and Milley at the time did not invoke the Insurrection Act, which would have allowed federal troops to subdue domestic violence. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Pentagon reiterates that troops have no role in US election – that includes vets at polls," 20 Oct. 2020 Now, Stone said, Trump could invoke it to protect all voters from fraud. Jim Rutenberg, New York Times, "How President Trump’s false claim of voter fraud is being used to disenfranchise Americans.," 30 Sep. 2020 Over that week in October, the Series would encompass one of the rarest of feats, invoke a curse, bring on a drunken’s manager’s outburst and embroil a star player in legal problems. Marc Bona, cleveland, "1920 World Series: Cleveland wins, capping an emotional season," 4 Oct. 2020 In extreme cases, the president can invoke the Insurrection Act and use active duty troops on domestic soil to quell riots or assist law enforcement. Lolita C. Baldor, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona National Guard among units tapped for rapid response to civil unrest," 2 Oct. 2020 But on multiple occasions, Hayungs and his associates would invoke the county and Becerra’s names to try and win COVID-19-related contracts across the state. Vianna Davila, ProPublica, "The COVID-19 Charmer: How a Self-Described Felon Convinced Elected Officials to Try to Help Him Profit From the Pandemic," 25 Sep. 2020 In the West, Greco-Roman-style monuments, including the United States Supreme Court building and the British Museum, invoke legitimacy by lineage to the cradles of civilization. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "Why Every City Feels the Same Now," 24 Aug. 2020 An Alabama congresswoman will invoke the memory of congressman John Lewis to demand that Congress reinstate the Voting Rights Act, the civil rights-era protections gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Invoking El Paso Walmart massacre, Escobar will spotlight gun violence as she casts Texas votes for Biden," 18 Aug. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about invoke

Time Traveler for invoke

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for invoke

Last Updated

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Invoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/invoke. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for invoke

invoke

verb
How to pronounce invoke (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on invoke

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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