Instigate vs investigate

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Instigate and investigate are two words that are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of instigate and investigate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Instigate means to cause an event, action or situation to happen, to initiate an event, action or situation. Instigate is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are instigates, instigated, instigating, instigative, instigation, instigator. The word instigate is derived from the Latin word instigatus, which means to urge.

Investigate means to methodically discover and examine the facts of a situation to establish the truth, to study a subject, to check out the background of a certain person. The word investigate is also a transitive verb, related words are investigates, investigated, investigating, investigative, investigation, investigator. The word investigate is derived from the Latin word investigatus which means to search after.


Candidates in East New Britain are being called on to campaign on their party policy platforms, and not instigate trouble among other candidates and their supporters. (The Papua New Guinea Post Courier)

According to report, both AIBA and AFBC, through 12 principal hubs of activity around the continent, will host workshops certified courses and provided hands-on boxing experience as an attempt to instigate a 250 per cent increase in Africa’s pool of referees and judges, coaches and technical staff. (The New Times)

What caused the Barack Obama administration to begin investigating the Donald Trump campaign last summer has come into clearer focus following a string of congressional hearings on Russian interference in the presidential election. (The Washington Times)

The Central Bureau of Investigation registered three FIRs and a preliminary enquiry to probe alleged irregularities in the merger of Indian Airlines with Air India, the purchase of 111 aircraft and termination of services on profit-making routes. (The New Indian Express)