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

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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

So if there’s one person that’s going to bring in outside perspectives, provoke the culture, do sort of these imaginative scenarios, there’s a ton of ways to ... Eric Johnson, Recode, "How to make a big company more innovative," 30 Nov. 2018 For some susceptible people, this means that large portions of such foods will spend a prolonged time being churned around in the stomach, provoking acid indigestion and upper stomach bloating. SELF, "Why This Registered Dietitian Tells (Some of) Her Patients to Avoid Kale Salads," 30 Nov. 2018 Interior Minister Horst Seehofer expressed sympathy Thursday for the protesters who were provoked by the slaying. David Rising, Fox News, "Far-right protests in Germany expose cracks in government," 7 Sep. 2018 These triggers provoke inflammation, constriction, and excessive mucus production in a person’s airways, which can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and wheezing (an alarming whistling sound during breathing). Korin Miller, SELF, "7 People Describe What an Asthma Attack Actually Feels Like," 14 Nov. 2018 That provoked Justice Kavanaugh to issue a blistering denial and accuse Senate Democrats and left-wing groups of trying to smear him. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Hospitalized After Fall," 8 Nov. 2018 In January 2018, an initial trailer provoked vocal backlash. Graeme Mcmillan, The Verge, "The TV reboot of Heathers was doomed from the start," 31 Oct. 2018 This police action provoked outrage and birthed the student movement. Andalusia Knoll, Teen Vogue, "What to Know About the 1968 Tlatelolco Plaza Student Massacre," 2 Oct. 2018 Microsoft's unveiling of the Surface Hub 2 in May this year provoked a very positive reaction. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Surface Hub 2 splits into two: 2S in 2019, 2X in 2020," 24 Sep. 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

5 Dec 2018

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 \
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

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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

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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

Comments on provoke

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