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2017 Word of the Year

instigate

[in-sti-geyt] /ˈɪn stɪˌgeɪt/
verb (used with object), instigated, instigating.
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.
Origin of instigate
1535-1545
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 forms
instigatingly, adverb
instigative, adjective
instigator, instigant
[in-sti-guh nt] /ˈɪn stɪ gənt/ (Show IPA),
noun
uninstigated, adjective
uninstigative, adjective
Synonyms
1. arouse, provoke. 2. induce, stimulate, encourage, push; initiate, start.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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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.

    The Shellback's Progress Walter Runciman
  • 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
  • Can there be an instinct without an instigation or an instigator?

  • And she had been the instigator of it, and Doctor Hilary had called it a miracle.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • Had Madame, therefore, been the instigator of the revenge, she would have been right.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
British Dictionary definitions for instigator

instigate

/ˈɪnstɪˌɡeɪt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to bring about, as by incitement or urging: to instigate rebellion
2.
to urge on to some drastic or inadvisable action
Derived Forms
instigatingly, adverb
instigation, noun
instigative, adjective
instigator, 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
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Word Origin and History for instigator
n.

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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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