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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for instigator
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Bodley evidently was, if not the instigator, at any rate the paymaster for this second journey.

    The Mystery of Francis Bacon William T. Smedley
  • All at once it occurred to him that some reward was due the instigator of his success.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • He is said to have been the instigator of the fierce persecution of the Christians under Galerius in 303.

  • Had Madame, therefore, been the instigator of the revenge, she would have been right.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • Sometimes, I fancy that the instigator of the crime was a man who was in love with me.

    My Memoirs Marguerite Steinheil
  • I felt sure that a plot had been formed against me, and that he was its framer and instigator.

    Will Weatherhelm W.H.G. Kingston
  • Just now she is making donations of pipes, tobacco, handkerchiefs (her own or The instigator's), and good advice on matrimony.

  • I was the instigator of the mischief, I pulled the wires, and if we are questioned let me speak first.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
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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