invoke

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
5
invoker noun

Did you know?

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
Recent Examples on the Web The 25th amendment has never been invoked, but it was also floated during the Trump Administration in the wake of the January 6th Capitol attack. Sara Ganim, USA TODAY, 1 July 2024 There are two obvious ways for Biden to be replaced on the ticket: Democrats could invoke the 25th Amendment and try to replace Biden with Harris, or delegates at the Democratic National Convention could revolt and cast their votes for someone other than Biden on the floor in Chicago. Ross O'Keefe, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 1 July 2024 The executive action relies on a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that President Donald Trump previously invoked and resembles his unlawful attempts to ban asylum seekers — which courts repeatedly struck down. Farrah Hassen, Sun Sentinel, 30 June 2024 But hours after the story was published, the Biden campaign sent a fundraising message invoking his name. Maegan Vazquez, Washington Post, 29 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for invoke 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'invoke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near invoke

Cite this Entry

“Invoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/invoke. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

invoke

verb
in·​voke in-ˈvōk How to pronounce invoke (audio)
invoked; invoking
1
: to call on for aid or protection (as in prayer)
2
: to call forth by magic : conjure
invoke spirits
3
: to appeal to as an authority or for support
invoke a law

Legal Definition

invoke

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

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