provoke

play
verb pro·voke \ prə-ˈvōk \

Definition of provoke

provoked; provoking
transitive verb
1 a archaic :to arouse to a feeling or action
b :to incite to anger
2 a :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

provoker

noun

Examples of provoke in a Sentence

  1. His remarks provoked both tears and laughter.

  2. He just says those things because he's trying to provoke you.

  3. The animal will not attack unless it is provoked.

Recent Examples of provoke from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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


PROVOKE Defined for English Language Learners

provoke

play
verb

Definition of provoke for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

provoke

play
verb pro·voke \ prə-ˈvōk \

Definition of provoke for Students

provoked; provoking
1 :to cause to become angry
  • Don't provoke your sister.
2 :to bring about
  • The joke provoked a smile.

Word Root of provoke

The Latin word vox, meaning “voice,” and the related word vocāre, meaning “to call”, give us the root voc or vok. Words from the Latin vox or vocāre have something to do with the voice or with calling. Anything vocal is produced by the voice. A vocation is the work that someone is called to do as a job. To evoke is to call forth. To invoke is to call on for aid or protection. To provoke is to call forth another's anger. The word voice also has vox as its root.


Medical Dictionary

provoke

play
transitive verb pro·voke \ prə-ˈvōk \

medical Definition of provoke

provoked; provoking
:to induce (a physical reaction)
  • ipecac provokes vomiting

Law Dictionary

provoke

play
transitive verb pro·voke \ prə-ˈvōk \

legal Definition of provoke

provoked; provoking
1 :to incite to anger
2 :to provide the needed stimulus for

provoker

noun


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