tr.v. in·voked, in·vok·ing, in·vokes
1. To call on (a higher power) for assistance, support, or inspiration: "Stretching out her hands she had the air of a Greek woman who invoked a deity" (Ford Madox Ford).
2. To appeal to or cite in support or justification.
3. To call for earnestly; solicit: invoked the help of a passing motorist.
4. To summon with incantations; conjure.
5. To resort to; use or apply: "Shamelessly, he invokes coincidence to achieve ironic effect" (Newsweek).
6. Computers To activate or start (a program, for example).
[Middle English envoken, from Old French invoquer, from Latin invocāre : in-, in; see IN-2 + vocāre, to call; see wekw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.