advocate

Definitions

General English

  • noun a person who strongly supports someone or something
  • verb to say that something is a good thing.

Law

  • noun a person, usually a barrister or solicitor, with right of audience (i.e. the right to speak in open court) as the representative of a party in a case
  • verb to recommend a course of action

Politics

  • noun someone who actively supports a cause or point of view
  • verb to speak or work to support a cause or point of view

Origin & History of “advocate”

Etymologically, advocate contains the notion of ‘calling’, specifically of calling someone in for advice or as a witness. This was the meaning of the Latin verb advocāre (formed from vocāre ‘call’, from which English also gets vocation). Its past participle, advocātus, came to be used as a noun, originally meaning ‘legal witness or adviser’, and later ‘attorney’. In Old French this became avocat, the form in which English borrowed it; it was later relatinized to advocate. The verb advocate does not appear until the 17th century.

The word was also borrowed into Dutch, as advocaat, and the compound advocaatenborrel, literally ‘lawyer’s drink’, has, by shortening, given English the name for a sweetish yellow concoction of eggs and brandy.
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