Definition of instigate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɪnstɪɡeɪt/


[with object]
1Bring about or initiate (an action or event): they instigated a reign of terror I will be instigating legal proceedings
More example sentences
  • Here the audience obtains a glimpse of the power bloc which oversaw and instigated the events.
  • Over the years she has instigated various events in the Court and the town itself.
  • Does the development team have the power and flexibility to instigate catastrophic events in the game?
set in motion, put in motion, get under way, get going, get off the ground, get in operation, start, begin, initiate, launch, institute, lay the foundations of, lay the first stone of, sow the seeds of, set up, inaugurate, found, establish, put in place, organize, get working, get functioning, activate;
trigger off, set off, spark off, inspire, foment, kindle, stir up, whip up, actuate, generate, cause, bring about;
start/get/set the ball rolling
informal kick off
formal commence
1.1 (instigate someone to/to do something) Incite someone to do something, especially something bad: instigating men to refuse allegiance to the civil powers
More example sentences
  • It is believed that the people were disappointed with the compensation given to them for their expropriated land, thus instigating them to commit arson.
  • The Knight of Swords' instigates you to be active, skillful and clever in work situations today.
  • ‘The Hanged Man’ instigates you to make changes in routines and patterns that have become meaningless and cumbersome in your life.
incite, encourage, urge, goad, provoke, spur on, drive on, egg on, entice, stimulate, push, press, prod, prompt, induce, impel, prevail upon, constrain, motivate, make, influence, persuade, sway;
arouse, rouse, excite, inflame, stir up, sting, prick
informal put up to
North American informal root on
Law  procure


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'urge on'): from Latin instigat- 'urged, incited', from the verb instigare, from in- 'towards' + stigare 'prick, incite'.

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Line breaks: in¦sti|gate

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