provocation

noun
prov·​o·​ca·​tion | \ ˌprä-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce provocation (audio) \

Definition of provocation

1 : the act of provoking : incitement
2 : something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates

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Examples of provocation in a Sentence

He can turn violent at the least provocation. Her calmness in the face of repeated provocations impressed her friends. With hardly any provocation, the crowd began to chant.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This act was perceived as a provocation by members of a community whose entire village was once destroyed during colonial land grabs at the end of the 18th century. Holly Eva Ryan, Quartz Africa, "Anti-Chinese protests in a Gambian fishing village show conflict of foreign investment in Africa," 27 June 2019 This provocation to Xi’s authority and ambition is not likely to go unmet in Hong Kong. Charlie Campbell, Time, "Hong Kong’s Uprising Rattles the Mainland," 20 June 2019 The eagerness to do so here, though, can make for a play whose characters sometimes feel more like convenient vehicles for provocation than like flesh-and-blood people doing believable things. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Old Globe’s world-premiere work ‘What You Are’ is a deep dive into identity politics and more," 7 June 2019 Her life in the arts has always flirted with provocation, even if inadvertently: As a teenager, Yao was a founding member of the riot grrrl group Emily’s Sassy Lime, which toured the United States from 1993 to 1997. Marley Marius, Vogue, "At the Honolulu Biennial, Artist Amy Yao Examines Environments and Identity (With the Help of Some Algae)," 12 Mar. 2019 Although a provocation, the use of deadly force by the Soviets was not unknown. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Swedish Pilots Win Medals for Top Secret 1987 SR-71 Incident," 29 Nov. 2018 Wilson, a black 18-year-old, was murdered last weekend at a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Oakland, California, after a man suddenly approached her and, with seemingly no provocation, stabbed her in the neck. German Lopez, Vox, "Anne Hathaway’s thoughts on Nia Wilson’s murder are really worth reading," 26 July 2018 Whatever the provocation, Chasten's response is on point and graceful. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Pete Buttigieg's Husband Chasten Shared an Empowering Coming Out Message," 3 Apr. 2019 Blackjack bombers flying within 12 nautical miles of North America would be an extremely serious provocation. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "No, Russian Bombers Did Not Enter U.S. Airspace," 28 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'provocation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of provocation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for provocation

Middle English provocacioun, from Anglo-French provocacion, from Latin provocation-, provocatio, from provocare

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Dictionary Entries near provocation

provn

Provo

provocateur

provocation

provocative

provocatory

provoke

Statistics for provocation

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for provocation

The first known use of provocation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for provocation

provocation

noun

English Language Learners Definition of provocation

: an action or occurrence that causes someone to become angry or to begin to do something

provocation

noun
prov·​o·​ca·​tion | \ ˌprä-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce provocation (audio) \

Kids Definition of provocation

: something that causes anger or action The dog will attack at the slightest provocation.

provocation

noun
prov·​o·​ca·​tion | \ ˌpräv-ə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce provocation (audio) \

Medical Definition of provocation

: the act or process of provoking a nonspecific irritant that brings about provocation of bronchial asthma

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provocation

noun
prov·​o·​ca·​tion | \ ˌprä-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce provocation (audio) \

Legal Definition of provocation

1 : the act of provoking
2 : something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates

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Comments on provocation

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