Daily Prompt: Evoke

pocket dictionary

Not the dictionary I got the definition from

So, evoke is another word that I kinda knew from reading it in books and surmising the meaning from the context. But I might not have always used it exactly right. I mean I probably have used it right — for the most part.  But I get the feeling that I haven’t…  The definition of evoke is as follows:

evoke evoked; evoking 
transitive verb
1: to call forth or up: such as
a : to bring to mind or recollection: this place evokes memories
b : to cite especially with approval or for support : invoke
c : conjure: evoke evil spirits

The etymology for those word geeks (like myself) who enjoy learning about these things:

evoke (v.) 1620s, from French évoquer or directly from Latin evocare “call out, rouse, summon,” from assimilated form of ex “out” (see ex-) + vocare “to call” (from PIE root *wekw- “to speak”). Often more or less with a sense of “calling spirits,” or being called by them. Of feelings, memories, etc., by 1856. Related: Evoked; evokes; evoking.


It’ll make sense in a moment

Now I have used evoke as the dictionary defines it (because that’s how it’s meant to be used), but for some reason, I’ve always associated evoke with someone showing their emotions rather than outside influences provoking memories. Like… well, I can’t even come up with a good sample sentence — something along the lines of “Why is she always evoking her drama all over the place?” which is pretty bad but it’s all I can come up with at the moment. Anyway, I can’t define it well, but as I was reading the above sentences in the definition for evoke, I understood what they were saying and I knew that their definitions were correct (because I’ve used them myself), but I kept looking for other, different definitions thinking there was more to it.  I’m pretty sure that I’m getting evoke and emote mixed up.  I mean, that’s completely possible.  To emote (for those who don’t know) means:

emote emoted; emoting
intransitive verb
: to give expression to emotion especially in acting

Yeah, I know, other than beginning and ending with an /e/ they don’t sound the same at all. But what can I do? They both have something to do with emotions. One provokes emotions, and one projects emotions. Y’all have to remember, most of my vocabulary came before the days of Google and the internet. Before the days of really good dictionaries even.  For much of my childhood, I had dictionaries much like the ones in the pictures here. Little pocket dictionaries that gave very brief and very vague definitions of words — though not quite as old. I bought this one not too long ago to add to my collection of grammars and cookbooks.  And that’s if the word could be found at all! evoke define For example, emote is not found in the dictionary pictured… After all there are well over 170,000 words in the English language (at least according to the current, Oxford English Dictionary). You can’t fit them all in one, little pocket dictionary. Hell, even most of the college dictionaries — like the one my mom finally got at a “free gift” for buying something — don’t have a good deal of the words I tried looking up.  If I remember correctly, the printed version of the OED is 20 volumes of teeny tiny print… way smaller than the print in the picture to the right. And very few people (that I know) can afford the OED for their own personal use. Thank goodness my university had a subscription for every student. And you can bet your buns I took advantage of that when I had it. So anyway, most of my vocabulary came from reading. And I read a lot, but due to a lack of dictionaries as a kid — and there being no internet when I was a kid (yes, kiddies, I am older than the internet), I inferred the meaning through context.

Which is why I’m totally not ashamed to admit when I’ve been using a word wrong, or pronouncing it wrong, or whatever.  These things happen. And hey, language changes. It’s changed a lot in my lifetime.  I’m just sitting back nowadays and watching the show. ^_^ and for a word geek like me, it’s a great show to watch.

via Daily Prompt: Evoke

7 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Evoke

  1. Donnalee

    I think it’s good you looked it up since you had doubts. I remember evoke since it can also mean ’causes’ in the sense of ‘calls the feelings or responses out of the person’, whereas ’emote’ is something the person is doing. Know what I mean? I emote, but you evoke something in me–I studied Latin way back and the e- part is ‘out’, and voke is call (like vocal) and mote is move (like motion), if that helps remember.

    I use the OED online for free and that helps me too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Willow Post author

      I wish I still had online access to the OED. I mean I know I can look up a word or two for free, but when I was a student, I had unlimited access, and it was wonderful. ^_^ Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Willow Post author

          Yes, of course, as I said, one can look up words on the OED website. However when I was a student, there was much more that one could do with the OED and unlimited access aside from looking up word definitions.



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