views updated May 21 2018

in·sti·gate / ˈinstiˌgāt/ • v. [tr.] bring about or initiate (an action or event): they instigated a reign of terror instigating legal proceedings. ∎  (instigate someone to do something) incite someone to do something, esp. something bad: instigating men to refuse allegiance to the civil powers. See notes at encourage, incite.DERIVATIVES: in·sti·ga·tor / -ˌgātər/ n.


views updated May 18 2018

instigate spur or urge on. XVI. f. pp. stem of L. instīgāre, f. IN-1 + stīgāre prick, incite; see -ATE3.
So instigation XV. — F. or L.


views updated May 17 2018


To incite, stimulate, or induce into action; goad into an unlawful or bad action, such as a crime.

The term instigate is used synonymously with abet, which is the intentional encouragement or aid of another individual in committing a crime.