[ in-vohk ]
/ ɪnˈvoʊk /
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See synonyms for: invoke / invoked / invoking on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), in·voked, in·vok·ing.
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Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of invoke

1480–90; <Latin invocāre, equivalent to in-in-2 + vocāre to call, akin to vōxvoice


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does invoke mean?

Invoke means to intensely call for something or call on someone, especially as in a prayer to a god or higher power, as in The holy woman invoked God’s mercy in her prayers.  

Invoke can also mean to call for help from someone (again, usually a god), as in The shamans invoked the gods to save them from the invading army. 

Invoke may also refer to stating that something is in effect, like a law or rule, as in The police invoked the new littering law when they fined Demetri for tossing his soda bottle on the ground. 

And invoke can mean to call or conjure a spirit or demon, as in The warlock invoked a group of infernal imps to do his evil bidding. 

Example: The ritual is meant to invoke the wrath of the gods and bring misfortune to the people’s enemies.

Where does invoke come from?

The first records of the word invoke come from around 1480. It comes from the Latin invocāre, meaning “to call on.” The act of invoking involves calling on someone, usually a god, for help or aid.

The word invoke is most often used in terms of religion or the law. Often, we pray to make a request to a supreme being for something, such as forgiveness, help, or mercy.

In law, a legal act or rule is invoked, or declared, to make clear that is being applied to a situation. For example, Americans will commonly invoke the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution when they don’t want to give a testimony that they believe will incriminate themselves.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to invoke?

  • invoker (noun)
  • invocable (adjective)
  • reinvoke (verb)
  • uninvocable (adjective)

What are some synonyms for invoke?

What are some words that share a root or word element with invoke

What are some words that often get used in discussing invoke?

How is invoke used in real life?

Invoke is most often used in reference to religion or laws.

Try using invoke!

Is invoke used correctly in the following sentence?

Mighty Heracles invoked the god Zeus for the strength to defeat the wicked Hydra.

How to use invoke in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for invoke

/ (ɪnˈvəʊk) /

verb (tr)
to call upon (an agent, esp God or another deity) for help, inspiration, etc
to put (a law, penalty, etc) into usethe union invoked the dispute procedure
to appeal to (an outside agent or authority) for confirmation, corroboration, etc
to implore or beg (help, etc)
to summon (a spirit, demon, etc); conjure up

Derived forms of invoke

invocable, adjectiveinvoker, noun

Word Origin for invoke

C15: from Latin invocāre to call upon, appeal to, from vocāre to call

usage for invoke

Invoke is sometimes wrongly used where evoke is meant: this proposal evoked (not invoked) a strong reaction
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