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

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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 Just as common, though, are works that invoke history, whether actual or mythic. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2021 The umpires did not invoke the infield-fly rule, and the Rangers took advantage. Steve Kroner, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Sep. 2021 Colloquially the term doesn't immediately invoke a violent connotation. David Oliver, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 The prosecution could also preemptively invoke national security to disrupt the defense’s argument even before any classified information is actually revealed. John Parkinson, ABC News, 7 Sep. 2021 But whether consciously or not, Ahmari, Hammer, and others invoke one of the more familiar tropes of American politics. Jack Butler, National Review, 22 Aug. 2021 The court did not, however, settle the dispute over whether conservative Christians may invoke their religious views as grounds for exemption from state and federal civil rights laws. Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2021 Marc Garelick, one of the accuser’s attorneys, said Bauer will be called to testify, but his attorney, Shawn Holley, said the pitcher plans to invoke his 5th Amendment rights and decline to answer questions to avoid self-incrimination. Steve Henson Assistant Sports Editor, Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 2021 The case isn’t the only recent attempt to invoke the Ku Klux Klan Act against Trump supporters. Washington Post, 25 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for invoke

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near invoke

invoice

invoke

involatile

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Statistics for invoke

Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Invoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/invoke. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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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 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

invoke

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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