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 That law was largely provoked by Austin leasing a downtown building to Planned Parenthood for just $1. Washington Post, "Austin to be first US city to fund abortion support services," 12 Sep. 2019 But shortly after the trip, Wiebke’s new daughter begins to act out in increasingly erratic and violent ways, claiming she is being provoked by a dark spirit. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hidden Gem: 'Pelican Blood' Gives a Terrifying Take on Childhood Trauma," 7 Sep. 2019 Many members suggested that the move was provoked by Trump’s policies and statements, including comments specifically about the two congresswomen. NBC News, "Democrats blast Israel's 'dangerous' decision to bar Omar, Tlaib from entering the country," 15 Aug. 2019 The anger provoked by article two shows that this view is far from universal. The Economist, "A row over teaching in French has reopened old wounds in Morocco," 15 Aug. 2019 In China’s version, a small, violent gang of protesters, unsupported by residents and provoked by foreign agents, is running rampant, calling for Hong Kong’s independence and tearing China apart. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Google’s internal activism is spreading across tech companies," 14 Aug. 2019 Undisputed evidence established that Tabares — who was provoked only by a verbal command to halt — aggressively bore down on and attacked a retreating officer, which weighed in favor of the decision to use of deadly force, Stanton added. Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot, "Federal judge upholds Huntington Beach officer’s use of deadly force in 2017 shooting," 31 July 2019 Source: Storyful The second-biggest moment of social-media engagement was also provoked by Ms. Harris. Maureen Linke And Danny Dougherty, WSJ, "In Second Democratic Debate, Social Media Focuses on Harris-Biden Crossfire," 28 June 2019 Provocation manslaughter is one of two forms of manslaughter, and happens when a person is provoked by another. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al.com, "Charges in Marshae Jones case explained," 28 June 2019

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

10 Oct 2019

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
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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