Evoke vs. Invoke

  angbeenc  —  Grammar Tips

While these two words aren’t quite homophones or homonyms, they still sound similar enough to cause some confusion—especially since we don’t use them on a daily basis. So what exactly the difference is between evoke and invoke? In this post, we’ll talk about their differences and give you a few ways to remember the difference between evoke vs. invoke.


The word evoke originated in early 17th century (in sense 2): from Latin evocare, from e- (variant of ex-) ‘out of, from’ + vocare ‘to call’ The word invoke originated in late 15th century: from French invoquer, from Latin invocare, from in- ‘upon’ + vocare ‘to call’.

Evoke as verb:

The word evoke is used as a verb which means to bring or recall (a feeling, memory, or image) to the conscious mind.

The sight evoked pleasant memories of his childhood.

Evoke is also used as to describe the action of invoke (a spirit or deity).

Akasha is evoked in India when a house is being built to ensure its completion.

Invoke as verb:

Invoke is also used as a verb which means to call on (a deity or spirit) in prayer, as a witness, or for inspiration. It also refers to summon (a spirit) by charms or incantation.

She was walking in a circle as though invoking the spirits of the place.

To cite or appeal to (someone or something) as an authority for an action or in support of an argument is also known as invoke.

The antiquated defense of insanity is rarely invoked in England.


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]

Evoke or invoke:

Evoke means to draw forth or to call something to mind and usually applies to feelings and memories. It starts with an “E” and is Effortless because it is less purposefully active. Invoke has a few different meanings such as to call on, to appeal to, and to call for. All of these involve an active “doer,” who Intentionally does them.


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