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

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

Where are all those changes Sandy Hook would provoke? San Francisco Chronicle, "Mass shootings — the real issue is mental health," 4 Apr. 2018 His statement provoked outrage and was widely condemned, and according to Ward’s account, Trump’s then-chief economic advisor Gary Cohn was ready to resign on principle. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, "Does Ivanka Trump Really Want to Be President Someday?," 19 Mar. 2019 These units are called radians (apologies if this term provokes a violent and sickening flashback to high school math), and there are 2π of them in a circle. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The math of pi explained, as simply as possible," 13 Mar. 2019 Word soon spread that a threat, written on a note found in Niskayuna, had provoked the lockdown, but that offered only temporary relief. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 This year, after the dissemination of rumors on WhatsApp provoked lynchings in India, the company put restrictions on the number of times that a message could be forwarded. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections," 18 Oct. 2018 Using the Folio for the first time, my instinct was that pushing the screen would provoke just such a collapse. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Hands-on: HP’s leather-clad laptop might just be the best convertible around," 1 Oct. 2018 While provoking headlines, such as this story, the Trump tweet is unlikely to change much. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "President Trump slams Pfizer drug price increases, threatens action," 9 July 2018 Supporters call them constitutional activists who electronically record police and government activities by video, frequently with such persistence that their presence provokes an agitated police response. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "Leon Valley hit with lawsuit over ‘auditor’ arrests," 5 July 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

25 Apr 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

having no equal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!