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Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does instigate mean? 

  The verb INSTIGATE has 2 senses:

1. provoke or stir up
2. serve as the inciting cause of

  Familiarity information: INSTIGATE used as a verb is rare.

 Dictionary entry details 


Sense 1instigate [BACK TO TOP]


Provoke or stir up

Classified under:

Verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing


instigate; incite; stir up; set off

Context examples:

incite a riot / set off great unrest among the people

Hypernyms (to "instigate" is one way to...):

provoke; stimulate (provide the needed stimulus for)


act; move (perform an action, or work out or perform (an action))

Troponyms (each of the following is one way to "instigate"):

raise (activate or stir up)

Sentence frames:

Somebody ----s something
Somebody ----s somebody
Somebody ----s somebody to INFINITIVE

Sense 2instigate [BACK TO TOP]


Serve as the inciting cause of

Classified under:

Verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing


instigate; prompt; inspire

Context example:

She prompted me to call my relatives

Hypernyms (to "instigate" is one way to...):

cause; get; have; induce; make; stimulate (cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner)

Sentence frame:

Somebody ----s somebody to INFINITIVE

Sentence example:

They instigate him to write the letter

 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"In the end, a man's motives are second to his accomplishments." (English proverb)

"All that glisters is not gold." (William Shakespeare)

"Not only can water float a craft, it can sink it also." (Chinese proverb)

"Think before you begin." (Dutch proverb)

 INSTIGATE: related words searches 

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