To invoke is to call up something such as a law, a higher power, or even a ghost. In court, you might invoke the Fifth Amendment (the right not to say something that will make you look bad) if you don't want to talk.

You can invoke all kinds of people or ideas, alive or dead: "She invokes the spirit of good writing when she proofreads her work." In a time of need, you might invoke a higher power. You could invoke Martin Luther King when talking about equal rights. You might even invoke the spirit of your dead cat at a séance. Just make sure you don't evoke (to bring on a strong emotional reaction) your dead cat; that would just be weird.

Primary Meanings of invoke

request earnestly (something from somebody); ask for aid or protection
cite as an authority; resort to
Full Definitions of invoke

v request earnestly (something from somebody); ask for aid or protection

Invoke God in times of trouble”
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appeal or request earnestly
call on, turn
have recourse to or make an appeal or request for help or information to
beg, implore, pray
call upon in supplication; entreat
adjure, beseech, bid, conjure, entreat, press
ask for or request earnestly
Type of:
bespeak, call for, quest, request
express the need or desire for; ask for

v summon into action or bring into existence, often as if by magic

arouse, bring up, call down, call forth, conjure, conjure up, evoke, put forward, raise, stir
call forth, evoke, kick up, provoke
evoke or provoke to appear or occur
anathemise, anathemize, bedamn, beshrew, curse, damn, imprecate, maledict
wish harm upon; invoke evil upon
give a benediction to
anele, anoint, embrocate, inunct, oil
administer an oil or ointment to ; often in a religious ceremony of blessing
Type of:
create, make
make or cause to be or to become

v cite as an authority; resort to

“He invoked the law that would save him”
“She invoked an ancient law”
Type of:
advert, bring up, cite, mention, name, refer
make reference to

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