provoke

verb
pro·​voke | \ prə-ˈvōk How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Bruguera says the work is intended not to represent the political, but to provoke political action. Esther Allen, The New York Review of Books, "The Art of the Possible at Havana’s Bienal," 15 June 2019 Wednesday’s oversight hearing and contempt votes were designed to provoke the Trump administration into exerting executive privilege over a few confidential legal memos. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "‘Contempt’ and the Court," 13 June 2019 Mr Biden’s comments on June 11th, in Davenport, seemed designed to provoke the president. A.r. | Chicago, The Economist, "Joe Biden and Donald Trump trade insults in Iowa," 11 June 2019 The acclaimed entertainer, who is a fierce Trump critic, is the celebrity du jour to provoke the feud-inclined leader. Nardine Saad, latimes.com, "Donald Trump and Bette Midler are feuding. Yes, again," 5 June 2019 The first case of mistreatment to provoke Godzilla in 1954 was the use of nuclear weapons. Julian Ch Lee, Quartzy, "Godzilla is the perfect monster for our age of environmental destruction," 1 June 2019 This was deliberately leaked by an anti-Trump person to provoke Trump into firing Rod Rosenstein in order to assist the Democrats in the mid-term elections. Fox News, "Tucker takes on Kavanaugh opponent; Martha MacCallum's takeaways from interview with Kavanaugh," 25 Sep. 2018 With this new season, The Terror seems to be working in the same vein, focusing on material that promises to provoke deep thought as well as goosebumps. Laura Bradley, HWD, "The Terror Season 2 Could Be One of 2019’s Most Important Shows," 22 June 2018 The charity sector, for example, abundantly uses small children to provoke bourgeois pity. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "America’s “Poster Child” Syndrome," 20 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.

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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

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Statistics for provoke

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for provoke

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

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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 How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
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 How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
provoked; provoking

Medical Definition of provoke

: to induce (a physical reaction) ipecac provokes vomiting

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provoke

transitive verb
pro·​voke | \ prə-ˈvōk How to pronounce provoke (audio) \
provoked; provoking

Legal Definition of provoke

1 : to incite to anger
2 : to provide the needed stimulus for

Other Words from provoke

provoker noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on provoke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with provoke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for provoke

Spanish Central: Translation of provoke

Nglish: Translation of provoke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of provoke for Arabic Speakers

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