provoke

verb
pro·voke | \prə-ˈvōk \
provoked; provoking

Definition of provoke 

transitive verb

1a : to call forth (a feeling, an action, etc.) : evoke provoke laughter

b : to stir up purposely provoke a fight

c : to provide the needed stimulus for will provoke a lot of discussion

2a : to incite to anger

b archaic : to arouse to a feeling or action

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from provoke

provoker noun

Choose the Right Synonym for provoke

provoke, excite, stimulate, pique, quicken mean to arouse as if by pricking. provoke directs attention to the response called forth. my stories usually provoke laughter excite implies a stirring up or moving profoundly. news that excited anger and frustration stimulate suggests a rousing out of lethargy, quiescence, or indifference. stimulating conversation pique suggests stimulating by mild irritation or challenge. that remark piqued my interest quicken implies beneficially stimulating and making active or lively. the high salary quickened her desire to have the job

synonyms see in addition irritate

Examples of provoke in a Sentence

His remarks provoked both tears and laughter. He just says those things because he's trying to provoke you. The animal will not attack unless it is provoked.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Ditko also, reportedly, was the one who decided Bruce Banner would transform into the Hulk in times of emotional stress and anger, instead of just when provoked by the multiple triggers the series had been using. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "Steve Ditko Was More Than Just the Guy Behind Spider-Man," 9 July 2018 Even after a week when all those blisters can resolve, the pain can continue for months, on and off, provoked by external stimuli. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "What to Know About the New Shingles Vaccine — and Why You Should Get It ASAP if You're Over 50," 5 July 2018 The anger provoked by the production had been visceral and swift as artists of all stripes asked why Mr. Lepage hadn’t bothered to hire more black actors and singers. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Protests Shutter a Show That Cast White Singers as Black Slaves," 4 July 2018 One 1775 letter from a group of merchants and traders in the southwestern port city of Bristol sheds light on the economic concerns provoked by the burgeoning revolution. Ciara Nugent, Time, "What British People in 1776 Really Thought of American Independence," 3 July 2018 The anti-tax group apparently has come out of its long slumber in Hamilton County, provoked by Democratic commissioners' decision this week to unilaterally raise the sales tax. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Does COAST still have influence in Hamilton County? We're about to find out," 21 June 2018 Some withdraw and are only given to violence when provoked by the fearful masses. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "How America Makes People into Monsters," 20 June 2018 The government agreed to subsidise diesel for 60 days to placate the drivers, whose strike was provoked by rises in fuel prices. The Economist, "Politics this week," 7 June 2018 With his French team tied up with Itaty in extra time and vying for a second World Cup win in three tournaments, Zidane was provoked by Italian defender Marco Materazzi and proceeded to violently headbutt him. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Craziest FIFA World Cup moments: Zinedine Zidane's headbutt, biggest upset, 'Hand of God'," 6 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of provoke

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for provoke

Middle English, from Anglo-French *provoker, provocher, from Latin provocare, from pro- forth + vocare to call, from voc-, vox voice — more at pro-, voice

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about provoke

Statistics for provoke

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for provoke

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for provoke

provoke

verb

English Language Learners Definition of provoke

: to cause the occurrence of (a feeling or action) : to make (something) happen

: to cause (a person or animal) to become angry, violent, etc.

provoke

verb
pro·voke | \prə-ˈvōk \
provoked; provoking

Kids Definition of provoke

1 : to cause to become angry Don't provoke your sister.

2 : to bring about The joke provoked a smile.

provoke

transitive verb
pro·voke | \prə-ˈvōk \
provoked; provoking

Medical Definition of provoke 

: to induce (a physical reaction) ipecac provokes vomiting

Keep scrolling for more

provoke

transitive verb
pro·voke | \prə-ˈvōk \
provoked; provoking

Legal Definition of provoke 

1 : to incite to anger

2 : to provide the needed stimulus for

Other Words from provoke

provoker noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on provoke

What made you want to look up provoke? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!