- The definition of instigate is to start something or cause something to happen.
An example of instigate is when you start a riot or get people all worked up with your speech.
transitive verbinstigated, instigating
- to urge on, spur on, or incite to some action, esp. to some evil: to instigate others to strife
- to cause by inciting; foment: to instigate a rebellion
Origin of instigate; from Classical Latin instigatus, past participle of instigare, to stimulate, incite ; from in-, in- + -stigare, to prick: for Indo-European base see stick
transitive verbin·sti·gat·ed, in·sti·gat·ing, in·sti·gates
- To initiate or bring about, often by inciting: instigate a public discussion of the issue; instigate an uprising.
- To urge on; goad: tried to instigate the people to revolt.
Origin of instigateLatin īnstīgāre, īnstīgāt-; see steig- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present instigates, present participle instigating, simple past and past participle instigated)
Commonly used with reference to evil actions; as, to instigate one to a crime.