invoke

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

Essential Meaning of invoke

formal
1 : to mention (someone or something) in an attempt to make people feel a certain way or have a certain idea in their mind He invoked the memory/name of his predecessor.
2 : to refer to (something) in support of your ideas She invoked history to prove her point.
3 : to make use of (a law, a right, etc.) He invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges. The suspect invoked his right to an attorney.

Full 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 If officials are removed from the process on such calls, the NBA at least has to allow teams to retain challenges if successful, and perhaps not require a timeout to invoke such an out-of-bounds challenge in the final two minutes. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 18 Sep. 2021 George Annas, director of the Center for Health Law, Ethics & Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health, agreed its wrong to invoke the Nuremburg Code in reference to COVID-19 vaccines. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2021 And her willingness to invoke the Holocaust for political gain exemplified the ahistorical demagoguery and sense of victimization that is a core component of Trumpism. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 28 May 2021 The world of fine art has long looked to the monolith and the megalith as attempts to invoke the awe of that natural, near-mystical perfection. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, 3 Dec. 2020 What Tim Bristol is calling for is for the president to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to invoke the 404(c) clause of the Clean Water Act. Alex Robinson/outdoor Life, Popular Science, 30 Nov. 2020 What Tim Bristol is calling for is for the president to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to invoke the 404(c) clause of the Clean Water Act. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, 25 Nov. 2020 As Fox News previously noted, the curriculum suggests chants that invoke the deity Tezkatlipoka. Sam Dorman, Fox News, 29 Sep. 2021 Members of the media who invoke that particular f-word do so at grave risk to their press passes. John Guaspari, National Review, 26 Sep. 2021

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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Learn More About invoke

Time Traveler for invoke

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near invoke

invoice

invoke

involatile

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Statistics for invoke

Last Updated

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Invoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/invoke. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for invoke

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

invoke

transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on invoke

Nglish: Translation of invoke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of invoke for Arabic Speakers

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