provocateur was our Word of the Day on 01/26/2013. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of provocateur in a Sentence
a calculating, right-wing provocateur, she has made a career out of controversy for its own sake
Recent Examples of provocateur from the Web
The debate of free speech on campus has intensified with the rising popularity of provocateurs such as white nationalist Richard Spencer and conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.
Similarly, the critical theorist and professional provocateur Slavoj Žižek argues that our responses to looming Armageddon are shaped by forms of collective denial, despair, and withdrawal.
Los Angeles Times Far-right rally fizzling A series of talks by controversial conservative speakers being planned at UC Berkeley by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos appears to be falling apart as the Sunday kickoff date approaches.
This is the natural progression of Trump from reality star and New York City provocateur to primary candidate and then Republican iconoclast, to now, presumably, leader of the free world.
Kilmartin — who opened by apologizing for looking like conservative provocateur Ann Coulter — is not one to shy away from the darker aspects of life (or death).
These include: executive producer of Bravo’s franchise (nine locations to date); host-provocateur of a nightly talk show, ; emcee of Fox’s reboot of vintage game show ; Warhol-style diarist; and Sirius XM radio impresario.
Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos still hasn’t spoken to the College Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley, where Antifa extremists rioted to stop his appearance in February.
Sugarman felt that a provocateur like Richard Pryor would thrive in a television setting.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'provocateur.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In "provocateur," a word borrowed directly from French, one sees the English verb "provoke." Both "provoke" and "provocateur" derive from Latin provocare, meaning "to call forth." Why do we say "provocateur" for one who incites another to action, instead of simply "provoker"? Perhaps it's because of "agent provocateur," a term of French origin that literally means "provoking agent." Both "agent provocateur" and the shortened "provocateur" can refer to someone (such as an undercover police officer or a political operative) whose job is to incite people to break the law so that they can be arrested, but only "provocateur" is used in English with the more general sense of "one who provokes."
First Known Use of provocateur
Synonymsdemagogue (also demagog), exciter, firebrand, fomenter, incendiary, inciter, instigator, kindler, agitator, rabble-rouser
Related Wordsdemonstrator, marcher, objector, picketer, protester (or protestor); advocate, apostle, backer, booster, champion, exponent, persuader, promoter, proponent, reformer, reformist, supporter; alarmist, extremist, insurgent, insurrectionist, radical, rebel, revolter, revolutionary, revolutionist, subversive, troublemaker; goader, prodder, prompter, provoker; agent provocateur
Near Antonymspeacemaker, reconciler, uniter
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up provocateur? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).