- 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.
- 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: from Classical Latin instigatus, past participle of instigare, to stimulate, incite from in-, in- plush -stigare, to prick: for Indo-European base see stick
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
transitive verb in·sti·gat·ed, in·sti·gat·ing, in·sti·gates
- To urge on; goad.
- To stir up; foment.
Origin: Latin īnstīgāre, īnstīgāt-; see steig- in Indo-European roots.
- inˌsti·gaˈtion noun
- inˈsti·gaˌtive adjective
- inˈsti·gaˌtor noun