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 This is a new kind of vaccine, in which synthesized ribonucleic acid is used to provoke the immune response. David Meyer, Fortune, "These four COVID-19 vaccines could soon join the pandemic fight," 8 May 2021 Military vehicles are parked nearby, and surrounding buildings have been boarded up in anticipation that the verdict will provoke uprisings. Los Angeles Times, "Minneapolis courthouse draws crowd as jury starts deliberating in Derek Chauvin trial," 19 Apr. 2021 Mohammed Karim Khalili, a former vice president and ally of Mr. Alipoor, warned in a social media post that operations will provoke civilians. Rahim Faiez, The Christian Science Monitor, "Afghanistan warlords remain wild cards in path to progress," 23 Mar. 2021 An American destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait the next day, the traditional reminder that an overt move to take over the island would provoke a response from the United States. New York Times, "As Biden and Xi Begin a Careful Dance, a New American Policy Takes Shape," 18 Mar. 2021 That was enough to provoke the direct linguistic response. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Homeland chief rejects GOP border label, says ‘crisis’ better describes Trump’s use of family separation to deter migrants," 17 Mar. 2021 The vaccine was even able to provoke a response to the South African variant, but not as strong. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Masks and vaccines are effective at combatting COVID-19 spread," 12 Mar. 2021 That gentler approach, experts argue, is more practical than the possible rupture that sanctions on the crown prince could provoke, especially at a time when Biden needs Riyadh on his side amid other challenges in the Middle East. Washington Post, "Biden’s Saudi Arabia problem," 1 Mar. 2021 Many gardens combine practical purposes with beauty, but beauty especially seems to provoke argument. BostonGlobe.com, "Whether you possess a large yard or small windowsill, books about gardens can help satisfy cravings for plant life," 22 Apr. 2021

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

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Provoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/provoke. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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 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

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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

Comments on provoke

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