advocate

1 of 2

noun

ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio) -ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
1
: one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal
an advocate of liberal arts education
2
: 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
3
: one who pleads the cause of another
specifically : one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court

advocate

2 of 2

verb

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

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
advocation noun
advocative adjective
Its mission is now more advocative—to represent business interests on local, state and national issues that affect the Southland. Nancy Yoshihara
advocator noun

Did you know?

Benjamin Franklin Wasn't a Fan of Advocate

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 as far as 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.

Choose the Right Synonym for advocate

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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Kimberly Archie, a close friend of the Ruigomez family — who had millions of dollars of settlement money stolen from them by Girardi — and an advocate of other victims of Girardi, expressed frustration in the development. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2022 The outgoing army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, has been a forceful advocate of keeping the armed forces out of politics. Pamela Constable, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2022 Paltrow is an advocate of TM—or transcendental meditation—which is said to reduce stress and anxiety, boost brain function and improve cardiovascular health. Kerry Mcdermott, Vogue, 11 Nov. 2022 Nessel, who is running for re-election and has been an advocate of protections for pets, recorded a two-minute YouTube video announcing the arrest. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 5 Nov. 2022 Sunak has not said what his policies will be, but has been a longtime advocate of budgetary restraint. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 24 Oct. 2022 Griswold faces Republican Pam Anderson, a former suburban Denver clerk and head of the state's county clerks association, who is a staunch advocate of Colorado's all-mail voting system. James Anderson, ajc, 10 Oct. 2022 An advocate of social enterprise and philanthropy, Atuwatse has founded multiple businesses, including the clothing line Colour Couture and Breakfast in Bed, a food delivery company in Lagos. Essence, 26 Sep. 2022 He has been lauded as an early advocate of the environmental movement and won praise for working to improve the lives of young people in underprivileged communities. Danica Kirka, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Sep. 2022
Verb
For some countries, the mismatch is sustainable so long as China is willing to use its weight to advocate for the interests of those more vulnerable. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 23 Nov. 2022 The climate assessment, which reviews scientific research over the past several years, examines what needs to be done to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but doesn’t advocate policy, Crimmins said. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2022 The Oakland City Attorney’s Office and the Public Ethics Commission say that city staff cannot use work time to advocate or campaign for a candidate or ballot measure. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Oct. 2022 Now Biden has reiterated his vow to defend Taiwan, while insisting that the foundation of US relations with its Asian superpower rival – that there is one China and Washington does not advocate independence for Taipei – remains intact. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 19 Sep. 2022 Narrativizing the past is often understood as a means to avoid remaining beholden to it, but Riley doesn’t exactly advocate for the redemptive power of such storytelling. Catherine Lacey, The Atlantic, 19 Sep. 2022 Banks have a proactive role to play—to finance and advise our clients, to act and lend responsibly and to use our voice to advocate for positive change. Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 Congressional rules stipulated that staff could not advocate on issues, introduce or co-sponsor bills, or support any legislation Young introduced before his death. Riley Rogerson, Anchorage Daily News, 29 July 2022 Western leaders should not advocate for a settlement that rewards Mr. Putin’s aggression. Daniel Twining, WSJ, 6 May 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

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Dictionary Entries Near advocate

Cite this Entry

“Advocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/advocate. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

advocate 1 of 2

noun

ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-kət How to pronounce advocate (audio)
-ˌkāt
1
: a person who argues for the cause of another especially in a court of law
2
: a person who argues for, recommends, or supports a cause or policy

advocate

2 of 2

verb

ad·​vo·​cate ˈad-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce advocate (audio)
advocated; advocating
: to speak in favor of : argue for

Legal Definition

advocate 1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

verb

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

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

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