Alternative formsEdit

  • envoke (archaic or nonstandard)


From Middle English *invoken, envoken, borrowed from Old French envoquer, from Latin invocāre (to call upon), itself from in- +‎ vocare (to call). Doublet of invocate.



invoke (third-person singular simple present invokes, present participle invoking, simple past and past participle invoked)

  1. (transitive) To call upon (a person, a god) for help, assistance or guidance.
  2. (transitive) To solicit, petition for, appeal to a favorable attitude.
    The envoy invoked the King of Kings's magnanimity to reduce his province's tribute after another drought.
  3. (transitive) To call to mind (something) for some purpose.
    • 1869, John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women:
      After marriage, the man had anciently (but this was anterior to Christianity) the power of life and death over his wife. She could invoke no law against him; he was her sole tribunal and law.
    • 1872, Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species:
      The acquisition of a useless part can hardly be said to raise an organism in the natural scale; and in the case of the imperfect, closed flowers, above described, if any new principle has to be invoked, it must be one of retrogression rather than of progression; and so it must be with many parasitic and degraded animals.
    • 1912, William Sharp McKechnie, The New Democracy and the Constitution:
      It is easier to invoke or to deplore democracy than to say exactly what it is.
  4. (transitive) To appeal for validation to a (notably cited) authority.
    In certain Christian circles, invoking the Bible constitutes irrefutable proof.
    • 1969, Philip Ziegler, The Black Death, Folio Society 2007, p. 21:
      He invoked cadaveric poisoning as the reason for the high death rate among priests and monks []
  5. (transitive) To conjure up with incantations.
    This satanist ritual invokes Beelzebub.
  6. (transitive) To bring about as an inevitable consequence.
    Blasphemy is taboo as it may invoke divine wrath.
  7. (transitive, computing) To cause (a program or subroutine) to execute.
    Interactive programs let the users enter choices and invoke the corresponding routines.
    • 2011, Stephen Prata, C++ Primer Plus:
      C++ lets you invoke an operator function either by calling the function or by using the overloaded operator with its usual syntax.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


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Further readingEdit