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[in-sahyt] /ɪnˈsaɪt/
verb (used with object), incited, inciting.
to stir, encourage, or urge on; stimulate or prompt to action:
to incite a crowd to riot.
Origin of incite
1475-85; < Latin incitāre, equivalent to in- in-2 + citāre to start up, excite; see cite1
Related forms
incitable, adjective
incitant, adjective, noun
[in-sahy-tey-shuh n, -si-] /ˌɪn saɪˈteɪ ʃən, -sɪ-/ (Show IPA),
inciter, noun
incitingly, adverb
reincite, verb (used with object), reincited, reinciting.
unincited, adjective
Can be confused
incite, insight.
instigate, provoke, goad, spur, arouse, exhort; fire; induce.
Synonym Study
Incite, rouse, provoke, inflame are verbs meaning to goad or inspire an individual or a group to take some action or to express some feeling. Incite and rouse are similar in that, although they can imply in some contexts abrasive or inflammatory arousal of violent or uncontrolled behavior, neither necessarily does so. Incite means simply to induce activity, of whatever kind: incited to greater effort by encouragement; incited to riot. Rouse has an underlying sense of awakening: to rouse the apathetic soldiers to a determination to win; to rouse the inattentive public to an awareness of the danger. Provoke implies a sense of challenge or irritation along with arousal and often suggests a resultant anger or violence: provoked by scathing references to his accomplishments; to provoke a wave of resentment. Inflame, with its root sense to set afire, implies a resultant intensity and passion: to inflame a mob by fiery speeches; He was inflamed to rage by constant frustration. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incite
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were none of the usual obstacles to incite them to matrimony.

    A Summer Evening's Dream Edward Bellamy
  • Dreams and talk of war may incite to war, but they may also satisfy the desire and need of war.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • You send them to the galleries to incite the admiration of the public?

    The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

    James McNeill Whistler
  • You have to like loyalty, no matter what the circumstances that incite it.

    Tinker's Dam Joseph Tinker
  • To instigate, incite, provoke, to urge on: from the Anglo-Saxon eggion.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
British Dictionary definitions for incite


(transitive) to stir up or provoke to action
Derived Forms
incitation, noun
incitement, noun
inciter, noun
incitingly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin incitāre, from in-² + citāre to excite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for incite

mid-15c., from Middle French enciter (14c.), from Latin incitare "to put into rapid motion," figuratively "rouse, urge, encourage, stimulate," from in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + citare "move, excite" (see cite). Related: Incited; inciting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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