provocative

adjective
pro·​voc·​a·​tive | \prə-ˈvä-kə-tiv \

Definition of provocative 

: serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate a provocative question

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Other Words from provocative

provocative noun
provocatively adverb
provocativeness noun

Examples of provocative in a Sentence

a thoughtful and provocative book It was one of his more provocative suggestions. She was wearing a very provocative outfit.
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Recent Examples on the Web

To date, Chinese expansionary tactics have for the most part involved incremental steps: moves not so provocative as to incite a response. The Economist, "China has militarised the South China Sea and got away with it," 21 June 2018 The serial killer thriller — von Trier’s most provocative film to date — prompted dozens of walk outs and a Twitter backlash for graphic scenes involving the mutilation of women and the killing of young children. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Gory Lars Von Trier Film Screening Causes Juror's Relative to Walk Out," 23 May 2018 Perhaps the most provocative section examines how psychedelics might help people grappling with addiction. Matt Mccarthy, USA TODAY, "Michael Pollan's long, strange trip on LSD: 'How to Change Your Mind' may not," 22 May 2018 His subject is Jean-Luc Godard, the most provocative, perplexing, political and poetic of the New Wave directors who reinvented the movie medium in France during the late 1950s and 1960s. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Godard Mon Amour’ Review: For the Love of Cinema," 19 Apr. 2018 One of Cassini’s most provocative discoveries was that Enceladus has an ocean under its icy exterior, plumes from which are sprayed into space on a regular basis from rifts in the ice at its south pole. The Economist, "Saturn’s rings and several of its moons may be recent creations," 22 Mar. 2018 Like it or not, more and more pictures (especially the provocative, nontentpole kind) will depend on streamers as the years go by. Stephen Galloway, The Hollywood Reporter, "Cannes vs. Netflix: Why Everyone Lost With the Festival's Ban," 23 May 2018 As the New Orleans Pelicans run roughshod over the rest of the NBA, a provocative question has started to gain traction in some segments of the fan base: Is the team better without DeMarcus Cousins? Jeff Duncan, NOLA.com, "Are the New Orleans Pelicans better without Boogie?," 7 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile, Bratz dolls, which had a meteoric rise last decade, were often derided by parents as too provocative, but girls loved them enough to convince their parents to buy them. Matthew Townsend, Bloomberg.com, "Hasbro Bet on ‘Black Panther’ Because Kids Said It Was Cool," 27 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'provocative.' 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 provocative

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near provocative

Provo

provocateur

provocation

provocative

provocatory

provoke

provoking

Statistics for provocative

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for provocative

The first known use of provocative was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for provocative

provocative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of provocative

: causing discussion, thought, argument, etc.

: causing sexual feelings or excitement

provocative

adjective
pro·​voc·​a·​tive | \prə-ˈvä-kə-tiv \

Kids Definition of provocative

: serving or likely to cause a reaction (as interest, curiosity, or anger) a provocative statement

Other Words from provocative

provocatively adverb

provocative

adjective
pro·​voc·​a·​tive | \prə-ˈväk-ət-iv \

Medical Definition of provocative 

: serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate provocative test for coronary spasmJournal of the American Medical Association

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