Evoke vs. invoke

To evoke is (1) to summon or call forth, (2) to call to mind, and (3) to call up a memory from the past. To invoke is, primarily, to call upon something, especially aid, assistance, or a higher power. Less commonly used senses of invoke include to cite for justification (such as when a lawyer invokes a precedent to make an argument), to conjure, and to resort to.


As with terrorism, the public has deep concerns about America’s place in the world, but these worries do not evoke a strong policy debate. [The National Interest]

One is reminded of Dante, who invoked the muse to speak of his journey to the pit and back. [James Blachly]

It’s intended to evoke a sense of nostalgia. [Miami New Times]

Desperate for money, the city of Portland decided to invoke a leaf-removal fee this autumn. [The Oregon Commentator]

The Irish Times went so far as to evoke the memory of WB Yeats in its unnerving editorial “Was it for this” two weeks ago. [Guardian]

Danes still sometimes invoke Tycho when they explain their need to excuse themselves during a meal. [NY Times]

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