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

This act has been invoked as recently as last year in Virginia to keep coal generators operating until adequate power supplies are secured for the region. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Palo Verde nuclear plant could close if renewable-energy measure passes, APS says," 12 Apr. 2018 His apologies, which have at times quoted Jay Z and invoked Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence as proof of good behavior, have not helped. refinery29.com, "Harvey Weinstein Is Reportedly Shopping A Documentary About Himself," 10 Mar. 2018 That letter had cited a national security law that has not been invoked since 1997. Fox News, "In a first, Hong Kong bans pro-independence political party," 23 Sep. 2018 As Islamic State battles to keep control of its last slice of territory in Syria, the extremist group’s propaganda machine is invoking international acts of terrorism in a bid to rally its remaining supporters. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, "Islamic State Uses Propaganda to Rally Supporters as Caliphate Withers," 19 Mar. 2019 Effective immediately, the United States will begin the process of invoking Section 235(b)(2)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump is officially turning back asylum seekers who come to the US through Mexico," 20 Dec. 2018 All refused to cooperate and invoked their 5th amendment right against self-incrimination. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Fired Baltimore police officer acquitted of assault charges," 25 Apr. 2018 Whimsical speak for the fact that OOKIOH's bright, primary color schemed minimalist suits invoke a heavy dose of travel lust and an itch too book an Instagrammable beach vacation, ASAP. Allie Briggs, refinery29.com, "The New Eco-Friendly Swimsuit Brand That's All Under $100," 26 Mar. 2018 In that sense, Maybin’s presence on this year’s Miami roster can invoke a feeling of what could have been. Mike Persak, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cameron Maybin helping Marlins young players deal with the pressures of expectations," 12 July 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.

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

Statistics for invoke

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for invoke

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!