I need a verb that goes before "insurrection" that means "to start an [insurrection]."
I first thought that it should be "do an insurrection", but it sounds weird to me. What verb better fit the place of "do"?

  • ... and if you get no better answers, use the one you already mentioned ... start.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 11:28
  • A convenient (but not necessarily accurate) way to get collocations (and their history) is with a Google NGrams search *_VERB an insurrection. Most of those 'make' versions are early 19th c. If you restrict to 20thc, 'raise' or 'start' seems to be preferred (but of course do specific searches on those to see how they're really used. 'make' seems unnatural to me, 'start' seems just fine.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 13:13
  • Why is it essential to use insurrection? The problem could be easily avoided by saying something like 'X rebelled against Y' or 'X rose up (in arms) against Y'.
    – jsw29
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 15:23
  • By 'starting an insurrection' do you mean the first steps of the insurrection itself, or something that causes the insurrection, but is not, strictly speaking, a part of it? The answers so far have interpreted the question differently in that respect.
    – jsw29
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 15:46

4 Answers 4


I would use instigate:

: to goad or urge forward : PROVOKE

Choose the Right Synonym for instigate

INCITE, INSTIGATE, ABET, FOMENT mean to spur to action. INCITE stresses a stirring up and urging on, and may or may not imply initiating. // inciting a riot INSTIGATE definitely implies responsibility for initiating another's action and often connotes underhandedness or evil intention. // instigated a conspiracy ABET implies both assisting and encouraging. // aiding and abetting the enemy FOMENT implies persistence in goading. // fomenting rebellion

In this context, a sentence using the word is the following:

They instigated an insurrection.

There is little practical difference between some of these synonyms, however, so which to use is simply a matter of personal preference.

  • A small addition to Jason's answer: it is also possible to make insurrection.
    – Anya
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 11:24
  • All kind of "positive" - doing an insurrection. In the context the list could be limitless: Crush waylay thwart infiltrate,,,
    – Vali Jamal
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 11:24

To foment, from Lexico, a verb:

Instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action)

‘they accused him of fomenting political unrest’

This avoids assonance from synonyms like instigate, initiate, or incite insurrection. Other synonyms for fomenting insurrection include provoke, generate, and kindle.

Even within an office, you can foment insurrection.


An addition to Jason's answer above, based on the OED: it is also possible 'to make' insurrection

1535 Bible (Coverdale) Ezra iv. 19

This cite of olde hath made insurreccion agaynst kynges.

1687 A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 277

The Moors made an Insurrection, and made one Osman their first Dey.

or 'break out in' insurrection

1854 H. H. Milman Hist. Lat. Christianity II. iv. ix. 207

The people broke out in instant insurrection, declared their determination to renounce their allegiance.

In Prometheus Unbound, Percy Shelley uses 'insurrection' in a beautiful metaphor:

All else had been subdued to me; alone/The soul of man, like unextinguished fire,/Yet burns towards heaven with fierce reproach, and doubt,/And lamentation, and reluctant prayer,/Hurling up insurrection, which might make/Our antique empire insecure, though built/On eldest faith, and hell's coeval, fear;

(see the 2nd quote here https://quotations.ch/quotations/#authors=ShelleyP&words=insurrection for more context)


He managed to inveigle an insurrection. He plotted it. And finally exposed it. In other words depends on the context.

  • 4
    I don't think "inveigle" works in this context.
    – user387258
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 11:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.