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instigate

[in-sti-geyt]
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verb (used with object), in·sti·gat·ed, in·sti·gat·ing.
  1. to cause by incitement; foment: to instigate a quarrel.
  2. to urge, provoke, or incite to some action or course: to instigate the people to revolt.
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Origin of instigate

1535–45; < Latin instīgātus past participle of instīgāre to goad on, impel, equivalent to in- in-2 + -stīg- goad, prick (akin to stigma, stick2) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsin·sti·gat·ing·ly, adverbin·sti·ga·tive, adjectivein·sti·ga·tor, in·sti·gant [in-sti-guh nt] /ˈɪn stɪ gənt/, nounun·in·sti·gat·ed, adjectiveun·in·sti·ga·tive, adjective

Synonyms

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1. arouse, provoke. 2. induce, stimulate, encourage, push; initiate, start.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for instigator

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • All at once it occurred to him that some reward was due the instigator of his success.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • John C. Calhoun was, or was charged with being, the instigator of this movement.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

  • Or, she can see the objects, admire them, but seek beyond them for their Instigator and Creator.

    The Prodigal Returns

    Lilian Staveley

  • They believed the Iron Duke to be the instigator and encourager of a shabby trick.

  • Why should these young men, who were led into this scheme by me, suffer as much as the instigator?

    My Bondage and My Freedom

    Frederick Douglass


British Dictionary definitions for instigator

instigate

verb (tr)
  1. to bring about, as by incitement or urgingto instigate rebellion
  2. to urge on to some drastic or inadvisable action
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Derived Formsinstigatingly, adverbinstigation, nouninstigative, adjectiveinstigator, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin instīgāre to stimulate, incite; compare Greek stizein to prick
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

Word Origin and History for instigator

n.

1590s, from Latin instigator, agent noun from instigare (see instigation). Fem. formation instigatrix is recorded from 1610s.

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instigate

v.

1540s, back-formation from instigation or else from Latin instigatus, past participle of instigare "to urge on, incite" (see instigation). Related: Instigated; instigates; instigating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper