Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To initiate or bring about, often by inciting.
  • transitive verb To urge on; goad.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To stimulate to an action or course; incite to do something; set or goad on; urge: generally in a bad sense: as, to instigate one to commit a crime.
  • To stir up; foment; bring about by incitement or persuasion: as, to instigate crime or insurrection; to instigate a quarrel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To goad or urge forward; to set on; to provoke; to incite; -- used chiefly with reference to evil actions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To goad or urge forward; to set on; to provoke; to incite.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb serve as the inciting cause of
  • verb provoke or stir up

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin īnstīgāre, īnstīgāt-; see steig- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Latin instigatus, past participle of instigare ("to instigate"), from prefix in- in + *stigare, akin to stinguere ("push, goad"). Akin to German stechen ("to prick"), English stick.

Examples

Comments

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  • ready-made fence entrance

    (Lewis M Gediman: Semantricks)

    January 8, 2009

  • So that's how bilby keeps escaping.

    April 28, 2009

  • Whose turn is it to watch?

    May 2, 2009

  • Umm, it was your turn.

    Has anyone seen bilby?

    May 2, 2009

  • Oops.

    May 2, 2009