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

Manchin said in the spot, which invoked a mine explosion in his hometown that killed 78 people in 1968, including his uncle. USA TODAY, "'Pivot counties' will be key in fight for Senate control," 10 July 2018 As Bloomberg notes, this authority was most famously exercised by Harry Truman, who invoked it to cap wages and impose price controls on the steel industry in during the Korean War. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "A Progressive President Could Accomplish a Lot By Following Trump’s Example," 3 June 2018 Something that invokes a combination of clean skin, fresh laundry, and the unmistakable aura of sophistication. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "The 4 Best Lightweight Colognes That Won't Overpower Your Coworkers," 10 May 2018 Never before in our nation's history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President. Anchorage Daily News, "Cohen says he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right in Stormy Daniels case," 26 Apr. 2018 Never before in our nation's history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Trump lawyer Michael Cohen says he'd use his Fifth Amendment right in Stormy Daniels case," 26 Apr. 2018 Never before in our nation’s history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Michael Cohen to plead the Fifth in Stormy Daniels suit," 25 Apr. 2018 Platforms may appear impossible to walk in, but are in fact incredibly comfortable due to the gentle slope of the sole; the best of the lot have a light foam sole or other featherweight base, which invokes the sensation of gliding on air. Monica Kim, Vogue, "Madonna’s Iconic Fluevog Platform—The Ultimate Club Shoe—Is Back and Better Than Ever," 20 Apr. 2018 Only in Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court invoked the state constitution to strike down the congressional map, has a new map been put in place. Mark Sherman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Supreme Court to hear new gerrymandering case, this time from Republican challengers," 26 Mar. 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

6 Sep 2018

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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Comments on invoke

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