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 Social Security, a component of the New Deal, was the answer to the retirement crisis provoked by the Great Depression. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "Rebuilding Retirement After the Pandemic," 19 May 2020 As attention around the world shifts from the immediate health crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic, countries are contending with an array of considerations necessary to reopen their economies. Justin Worland, Time, "As the Rest of the World Plans a Green Recovery, America Is Once Again Falling Behind," 15 May 2020 But attention has also turned to runaway immune reactions provoked by the infection that can lead to respiratory failure. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "‘Spider-Man’ Immune Response May Promote Severe COVID-19," 28 Apr. 2020 Trump came under fire for not responding more forcefully to violence provoked by some neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 and has been called out for supporting European nationalist politicians. NBC News, "Trump administration slaps sanctions on Russian white supremacists," 6 Apr. 2020 Last week Mr Kurti’s government was voted out in parliament, in a procedure ostensibly provoked by a row over the declaration of a state of emergency owing to covid-19, which would have given the president many exceptional powers. The Economist, "A Balkan bust-up Did America help oust Kosovo’s reformist government?," 2 Apr. 2020 But a crisis provoked by Iran is never far off, even during a pandemic. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Better Way to Deter Iran in Iraq," 31 Mar. 2020 Though the people of Wuhan will soon be able to move freely again, the anxieties and dissatisfaction provoked by the outbreak of coronavirus may nonetheless have a lasting legacy. Betsy Joles, 1843, "Coronavirus calling," 16 Mar. 2020 But stockpiling is not an uncommon reaction provoked by fear, social scientists say. Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post, "The toilet paper shortage is real. But it should be brief.," 13 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for provoke

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for provoke

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Provoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/provoke. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for provoke

provoke

verb
How to pronounce provoke (audio)

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.
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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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for provoke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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