advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio) , -ˌkāt \

Essential Meaning of advocate

1 : a person who argues for or supports a cause or policy a birth control advocate = an advocate of birth control [=a person who advocates birth control] a passionate/impassioned advocate of civil rights
2 US : a person who works for a cause or group a women's health advocate = an advocate for women's health She works as a consumer advocate.
3 : a person who argues for the cause of another person in a court of law : lawyer

Full Definition of advocate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who pleads the cause of another specifically : one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court
2 : one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal an advocate of liberal arts education
3 : one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group a consumer advocate an advocate for women's health He has paid respectful attention to the home schooling movement by meeting with its advocates and endorsing their cause.— Elizabeth Drew

advocate

verb
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio) \
advocated; advocating

Definition of advocate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to support or argue for (a cause, policy, etc.) : to plead in favor of They advocated a return to traditional teaching methods. a group that advocates vegetarianism

intransitive verb

: to act as advocate for someone or something … a tradition of advocating for the equality and civil rights of all people …— Fred Kuhr

Other Words from advocate

Verb

advocation \ ˌad-​və-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce advocate (audio) \ noun
advocative \ ˈad-​və-​ˌkā-​tiv How to pronounce advocate (audio) \ adjective
Its mission is now more advocative—to represent business interests on local, state and national issues that affect the Southland. — Nancy Yoshihara
advocator \ ˈad-​və-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce advocate (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for advocate

Verb

support, uphold, advocate, back, champion mean to favor actively one that meets opposition. support is least explicit about the nature of the assistance given. supports waterfront development uphold implies extended support given to something attacked. upheld the legitimacy of the military action advocate stresses urging or pleading. advocated prison reform back suggests supporting by lending assistance to one failing or falling. refusing to back the call for sanctions champion suggests publicly defending one unjustly attacked or too weak to advocate his or her own cause. championed the rights of children

Benjamin Franklin Wasn't a Fan of Advocate

Verb

Benjamin Franklin may have been a great innovator in science and politics, but on the subject of advocate, he was against change. In 1789, he wrote a letter to his compatriot Noah Webster complaining about a "new word": the verb advocate. Like others of his day, Franklin knew advocate primarily as a noun meaning "one who pleads the cause of another," and he urged Webster to condemn the verb's use. In truth, the verb wasn't as new as Franklin assumed (etymologists have traced it back to 1599), though it was apparently surging in popularity in his day. Webster evidently did not heed Franklin's plea. His famous 1828 dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, entered both the noun and the verb senses of advocate.

Examples of advocate in a Sentence

Noun … two of nanotechnology's biggest advocates square off on a fundamental question that will dramatically affect the future development of this field. — K. Eric Drexler et al., Chemical & Engineering News, 1 Dec. 2003 Ms. Hart was familiar with local medical-review policies from her work as a patient advocate. — Laurie McGinley, Wall Street Journal, 16 Sept. 2003 a passionate advocate of civil rights She works as a consumer advocate. Verb … it makes sense to commence with … a good medium-weight Chardonnay for the wine aficionados. I advocate one with a little oak and lots of fruit … — Anthony Dias Blue, Bon Appétit, November 1997 He advocated the creation of a public promenade along the sea, with arbors and little green tables for the consumption of beer … — Henry James, The American, 1877 He advocates traditional teaching methods. The plan is advocated by the president.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tyson has been an advocate for toad venom and psychedelics and says he's lost 100 pounds and become closer to his family. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2021 Before being appointed to the General Assembly in 2017, Lewis had worked in public health and was an advocate for transit. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Lilley has long been an advocate for children in foster care and has lobbied Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services for foster care reform, specifically to stop premature reunification. Kara Warner, PEOPLE.com, 18 Nov. 2021 Bonnie Frankel, elite runner and sports activist, is also an advocate of hill sprints for their tendency to build muscle. Sarah Fielding, Health.com, 1 Nov. 2021 Kelley, the daughter of a former police chief in northern Louisiana, is an advocate for affordable workforce housing. Adrianne Murchison, ajc, 27 Sep. 2021 Chan, who died Wednesday, was an outspoken advocate for children, California’s Chinese American population and equitable access to health care. Gwendolyn Wu, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Nov. 2021 The Panorama City mom has always been an advocate for the benefits of breastfeeding. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2021 Ayala has been an advocate for women’s rights, gun safety and broader access to health care who used her own story to highlight the impact more government investment in those areas can make. Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some of the men Rittenhouse targeted used their privilege to advocate for the world’s most vulnerable population of people—and died because of it. Candace Mcduffie, Glamour, 22 Nov. 2021 Many activists call on her to use her background to advocate for those with similar experiences. Amy Nakamura, USA TODAY, 9 Nov. 2021 Robinson’s dual role has put her in a unique position to help underrepresented students — and to use her voice to advocate for diversity and inclusion for all students. Donna Provencher, San Antonio Express-News, 1 Oct. 2021 The way Baker used her power as a star to advocate for civil rights and the French resistance mirrors Biles’s own activism. Sarah Spelling, Vogue, 13 Sep. 2021 The Alphabet Workers Union is not seeking certification through the NLRB, instead hoping to use its collective power to advocate for a better workplace. Aman Kidwai, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2021 Companies have used their platforms to advocate for policies on immigration, gay rights, and climate change. Arielle Pardes, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 India’s finance ministry this year used its annual report to advocate a big increase in public debt in rupees, saying this could supercharge growth. Marcus Walker, WSJ, 12 July 2021 Others, like Democratic U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., used the moment to advocate for the drug’s legalization. Fox News, 4 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'advocate.' 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 advocate

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for advocate

Noun

Middle English avocat, advocat, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin advocātus, noun derivative from past participle of advocāre "to summon, call to one's aid," from ad- ad- + vocāre "to call" — more at vocation

Verb

derivative of advocate entry 1

Learn More About advocate

Time Traveler for advocate

Time Traveler

The first known use of advocate was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near advocate

advocacy research

advocate

advocateship

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Statistics for advocate

Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Advocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advocate. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for advocate

advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio) , -ˌkāt \

Kids Definition of advocate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who argues for or supports an idea or plan peace advocates
2 : a person who argues for another especially in court

advocate

verb
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio) \
advocated; advocating

Kids Definition of advocate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak in favor of : argue for advocate change

advocate

noun
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-kət, -ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio) \

Legal Definition of advocate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person (as a lawyer) who works and argues in support of another's cause especially in court
2 : a person or group that defends or maintains a cause or proposal a consumer advocate

advocate

verb
ad·​vo·​cate | \ ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio) \
advocated; advocating

Legal Definition of advocate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to argue in favor of

intransitive verb

: to act as an advocate shall advocate for minority business— V. M. Rivera

History and Etymology for advocate

Noun

Latin advocatus adviser to a party in a lawsuit, counselor, from past participle of advocare to summon, employ as counsel, from ad to + vocare to call

More from Merriam-Webster on advocate

Nglish: Translation of advocate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of advocate for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about advocate

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