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

Until today, the word rattail provoked memories of my middle-school boyfriend Brian, who, in addition to a rattail, also wore Zubaz pants most days of the week. Marci Robin, Allure, "Kristen Stewart Has Been Wearing the Cutest Little Rattail at the Cannes Film Festival," 9 May 2018 These fast-food Frankensteins are meant to provoke; many don’t taste particularly good. Tiffany Hsu, New York Times, "Meat Wrapped in Meat. Doughnut Sandwiches. Want Some of Fast Food’s Big Ideas?," 22 June 2018 The thought of your therapist being unavailable can provoke anxiety. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "What the Hell Are You Supposed to Do When Your Therapist Goes on Vacation?," 19 Dec. 2018 There’s no evidence of any actual explosives being placed or detonated, but the threats provoked evacuations and law enforcement investigations across the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Facebook wants you to buy — and watch — HBO on Facebook," 14 Dec. 2018 On November 19, a code change that had been progressively deployed over the previous six days provoked a cascade of failures. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft explains one Azure authentication outage as another one happens," 27 Nov. 2018 Meredith attempts to bond with Hallie upon their first meeting, and only responds with bitchery after Hallie continually provokes her. Kristen Lopez, Vox, "The Parent Trap, Meredith Blake, and the ongoing reclamation of “bitch”," 28 July 2018 Nord Stream 2 always also reflected a willingness among many Germans on the left and right of the political spectrum to engage Russia, rather than to provoke it. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "The Russian pipeline to Germany that Trump is so mad about, explained," 11 July 2018 The drugs themselves do not increase creativity or generate insights, or even truly provoke them. Ellen Ruppel Shell, BostonGlobe.com, "Take a hit of acid and call me in the morning," 11 May 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

14 Feb 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 \
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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