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

For the majority of Americans, that family-centric image is fine and perhaps even invokes those warm and cozy feelings that make this time of year feel so aspirational and special. Ashley Edwards Walker, Good Housekeeping, "Modern Estrangement: What Does It Mean to Be Estranged, Anyway?," 21 Dec. 2018 But the way the president's team is invoking gender is exactly why so many conservatives hate identity politics. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "White House is playing the ‘woman’ card in response to concerns about Gina Haspel," 7 May 2018 In his rallies, Mr. Trump often invokes Mr. Obama, whose name triggers thunderous boos from the crowd. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Obama and Trump Jockey Over Legacy at Campaign Rallies," 2 Nov. 2018 That's just the point, according to principle designer Vu Viet Anh, who aimed to invoke the sensation of walking along a thread stretching through the hands of God. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Wild New Pedestrian Bridge Walks Visitors Through 'Hands of God'," 1 Aug. 2018 Trump has dubiously invoked Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which allows a president to slap duties on imports if U.S. national security is threatened. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Toothless trade resolution demonstrates Congress’s unwillingness to check Trump," 12 July 2018 During it, Trump invoked the name of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was detained in North Korea for 15 months. Jessica Estepa, USA TODAY, "The handshake, denuclearization and another summit: Six things to know from the Trump-Kim summit," 12 June 2018 As a candidate, Mr. Trump regularly invoked MacArthur’s name, often to mock his opponents for their weakness. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Meeting With Kim Tests Trump’s Dealmaking Swagger," 9 June 2018 In addition, Trump has invoked Rosenstein’s role as some sort of evidence that Comey’s firing was not an attempt to obstruct the investigation. Monique Judge, The Root, "#ObstructionGate: Former FBI Official’s Memo Hints That Comey Firing Was Related to Russia Investigation," 1 June 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

11 Jan 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

: 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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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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