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

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 The company’s filing appears to be the first to invoke the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposal in a legal battle over whether certain SPACs are really investment companies. Chris Dolmetsch,, 31 Mar. 2022 The low-grazing shadows of the pasta shot invoke early morning or evening, due to the color of the light and angle of the shadows. Stinson Carter, Wired, 14 July 2022 Case in point: these wavelike majolica tiles, which invoke the island surroundings of this midcentury villa on Capri. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, 11 July 2022 But outside experts on the secretive, authoritarian country suggest that the report is merely an attempt to shift blame for the outbreak and invoke fear and hatred of South Korea. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 1 July 2022 Sources told ABC News that Giuliani – who represented Trump during the Mueller investigation and led legal challenges to the 2020 election results across the country on Trump's behalf – did, at times, invoke attorney-client privilege. Katherine Faulders, ABC News, 9 June 2022 Within two days, Tyson’s vice president and associate general counsel circulated a draft order that would invoke the president’s powers under a Korean War-era law called the Defense Production Act. Michael Grabell, ProPublica, 13 May 2022 The tendency is at its most consequential when judges invoke history to help decide cases that can affect the lives of millions for generations. Annette Gordon-reed, The New York Review of Books, 9 May 2022 The stories, which invoke World War II-era heroism, are relayed by state television broadcasters and in local media. Evan Gershkovich, WSJ, 4 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for invoke

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

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Invoke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for invoke


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


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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