Definition of incite in English:



[with object]
  • 1Encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behaviour)

    ‘they conspired to incite riots’
    • ‘Britain must be free to act against extremists who stir up hatred and incite terrorism.’
    • ‘The Public Order Act of 1986 made it a criminal offence to incite racial hatred - but its provisions do not extend to sexual orientation.’
    • ‘This ‘knowledge’ is often designed to foster hatred and to incite violence and hostility against us.’
    • ‘Many priests refused to collaborate with the authorities, and some incited disobedience.’
    • ‘Section 5 of the Act makes it an offence to incite religious hatred.’
    • ‘In democratic societies the academy takes a grave view of scholars whose writings and activities can be interpreted as inciting racial hatred.’
    • ‘‘I spoke to the museum's director and said it's not acceptable; it's inciting murder, it's the encouragement of genocide.’’
    • ‘And refusing to sponsor, support or supply those who incite hatred of racial, religious or sexual minorities.’
    • ‘She said it showed a desire to incite hatred and violence against non-British citizens, even if those fantasies had never been acted out.’
    • ‘Now aged 42, he is party chairman, with a conviction for inciting racial hatred.’
    • ‘The British press has done much over the years to malign garage, and now the grime scene, stating that the music incites violence and criminal behaviour, but Lady Fury believes just the opposite.’
    • ‘The three men are the first people to be convicted of inciting terrorist murder via the internet.’
    • ‘They send their minions to incite and encourage lewd behaviour in attempts to take their cash.’
    • ‘Generally, it is perfectly obvious what kind of language or imagery incites racial hatred.’
    • ‘Instead, both parties continue to rally their tribes, inciting racial tensions and pursuing selfish agendas.’
    • ‘Police have been minutely examining a tape of the programme to see whether anyone in it broke the law by inciting racial hatred.’
    • ‘Because at the moment you're breaking the law of the UK yourself by inciting violence and hatred.’
    • ‘The attached questionnaire is part of a general public consultation that the European Commission is conducting in relation to the issue of inciting, aiding or abetting terrorist offences.’
    • ‘I am aware that Britain has legislation which makes it a criminal offence to incite racial hatred.’
    • ‘The leaders unanimously adopted two resolutions - one on inciting terrorist acts, the other on the Security Council's role in conflict prevention, particularly in Africa.’
    stir up, whip up, work up, encourage, fan the flames of, stoke up, fuel, kindle, ignite, inflame, stimulate, instigate, provoke, excite, arouse, awaken, waken, inspire, trigger, spark off, ferment, foment, agitate against, agitate for
    egg on, encourage, urge, goad, provoke, spur on, drive on, stimulate, push, prod, prompt, induce, impel, motivate, make, influence
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Urge or persuade (someone) to act in a violent or unlawful way.
      ‘he incited loyal subjects to rebellion’
      • ‘Police said they are looking for those believed to be responsible, allegedly two local government officials who recently lost their jobs and incited people to violence to regain their posts.’
      • ‘Just because I have ‘free speech’ does not mean I can foment racial hatred or incite someone in a pub to beat someone else up.’
      • ‘It makes it an offence to attempt to commit any such offence, or to solicit, incite or endeavour to persuade another person to do so, or to aid or abet its commission.’
      • ‘So you can incite someone to do something bad without even realising you're doing it.’
      • ‘The policeman and the informer who acted together in inciting him to commit the crime should… both be prosecuted and suitably punished.’
      • ‘I really wish I didn't delete the original post, because then people would be able to see for themselves that I never incited anyone to go over there and abuse her in any way.’
      • ‘Students in the band said they're just singing the lyrics and not inciting anyone to do anything.’
      • ‘It means Jackson cannot cause harassment, alarm or distress, or incite anyone to engage in anti-social behaviour.’
      • ‘The conviction is unsafe in that the trial process was vitiated by serious unfairness in that the officers clearly incited or persuaded the defendant to obtain heroin for ‘Ange’.’
      • ‘He is also banned from inciting anyone else to do the same.’
      • ‘Thus pre-vindicated, any troublemaker can now articulate his freedom of umbrage, on the grounds that he was incited to violence by a poem, novel, painting, play, or critique.’
      • ‘If I threaten to harm someone or I incite someone else to harm them, then I am committing a criminal offence.’
      • ‘Certainly no one thinks that he was inciting people to go out and do that.’
      • ‘And it did not incite me to physical violence, but it changed me, materially, and my world.’
      • ‘At this time it became a crime to incite someone to commit a ‘homosexual’ act.’
      • ‘The myths surrounding censorship are legion, and are largely based on the unproven premise that screen violence incites people to actual violence.’
      • ‘Well, under the new rule presumably he's inciting the people to violence.’
      • ‘The interdict meant if either of the two intimidated Souter, or incited anyone else to bully her, they would be arrested.’
      • ‘According to the Trade Commission, the commercial contains pornographic elements and incites people to violence, in contravention of the Consumer Protection Act.’
      • ‘Under existing law, this possibility was limited to people who publicly incited others to violence.’
      persuade, convince, prevail upon, get, make, prompt, move, inspire, instigate, influence, exert influence on, press, urge, encourage, impel, actuate, motivate
      View synonyms


Late 15th century (earlier ( late Middle English) as incitation): from French inciter, from Latin incitare, from in- ‘towards’ + citare ‘rouse’.