Why was clemency trending last week?


[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.
Origin of invoke
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for invoked
  • Terry had invoked laws meant to allow legitimate political candidates to talk to people.
  • My memory of a magical fifteen minutes has remained sharp all these years and now has been invoked so wonderfully.
  • As soon as deities or the supernatural are invoked it's game over for science.
  • Science is merely another authority sometimes invoked to validate personal prejudice.
  • So these are different faces of the same problem and the same notion is invoked to sustain these and other forms of exploitation.
  • After her arrest, she briefly spoke to the police then invoked her right to remain silent.
  • The past was invoked only to make a specific point about the present.
  • But now it is invoked less often as an excuse to avoid doing something that would otherwise make sense.
  • The phrase is often invoked, but rarely defined precisely.
  • So those products are basically worthless, as they supposedly can't be invoked by the lenders.
British Dictionary definitions for invoked


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 invoked



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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