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[in-vohk] /ɪnˈvoʊk/
verb (used with object), invoked, invoking.
to call for with earnest desire; make supplication or pray for:
to invoke God's mercy.
to call on (a deity, Muse, etc.), as in prayer or supplication.
to declare to be binding or in effect:
to invoke the law; to invoke a veto.
to appeal to, as for confirmation.
to petition or call on for help or aid.
to call forth or upon (a spirit) by incantation.
to cause, call forth, or bring about.
1480-90; < Latin invocāre, equivalent to in- in-2 + vocāre to call, akin to vōx voice
Related forms
invocable, adjective
invoker, noun
reinvoke, verb (used with object), reinvoked, reinvoking.
uninvocable, adjective
uninvoked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for invoking
  • We spent hours taking portraits then showing the images to those gathered, usually invoking spontaneous applause.
  • invoking an impossible event to achieve a nonsensical result to prove the arrow of time.
  • But they share similarities as movements vying for influence and invoking pluralism.
  • McKinney was scolded for invoking race at all, for trivializing real racism with such trite hypersensitivities.
  • All joking aside, you haven't been a bastion of character invoking your authority at every turn.
  • But perhaps we're finally returning to being a country where invoking security isn't the end of the argument.
  • The cloak of secrecy he is invoking is not protecting national security but protecting war crimes.
  • The more heinous the object of comparison, the more cautious you should be in invoking it.
  • My guess is that, when it comes to invoking elegance, foreign and complex words have a natural advantage.
  • Regrettably, among us there are also those who try to justify terror by invoking injustices and humiliations.
British Dictionary definitions for invoking


verb (transitive)
to call upon (an agent, esp God or another deity) for help, inspiration, etc
to put (a law, penalty, etc) into use: the 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
invocable, adjective
invoker, noun
Usage note
Invoke is sometimes wrongly used where evoke is meant: this proposal evoked (not invoked) a strong reaction
Word Origin
C15: from Latin invocāre to call upon, appeal to, from vocāre to call
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 invoking



late 15c., from Middle French envoquer (12c.), from Latin invocare "call upon, implore," from in- "upon" (see in- (2)) + vocare "to call," related to vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (see voice (n.)). Related: Invoked; invoking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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