provoke

play
verb pro·voke \prə-ˈvōk\

Definition of provoke

provoked

;

provoking

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a archaic :  to arouse to a feeling or actionb :  to incite to anger

  3. 2a :  to call forth (a feeling, an action, etc.) :  evoke provoke laughterb :  to stir up purposely provoke a fightc :  to provide the needed stimulus for will provoke a lot of discussion

provoker

noun

Examples of provoke in a Sentence

  1. His remarks provoked both tears and laughter.

  2. He just says those things because he's trying to provoke you.

  3. The animal will not attack unless it is provoked.

Recent Examples of provoke from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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


PROVOKE Defined for English Language Learners

provoke

play
verb

Definition of provoke for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

provoke

play
verb pro·voke \prə-ˈvōk\

Definition of provoke for Students

provoked

;

provoking

  1. 1 :  to cause to become angry Don't provoke your sister.

  2. 2 :  to bring about The joke provoked a smile.

Word Root of provoke

The Latin word vox, meaning “voice,” and the related word vocāre, meaning “to call”, give us the root voc or vok. Words from the Latin vox or vocāre have something to do with the voice or with calling. Anything vocal is produced by the voice. A vocation is the work that someone is called to do as a job. To evoke is to call forth. To invoke is to call on for aid or protection. To provoke is to call forth another's anger. The word voice also has vox as its root.


Medical Dictionary

provoke

play
transitive verb pro·voke \prə-ˈvōk\

Medical Definition of provoke

provoked

;

provoking

  1. :  to induce (a physical reaction) ipecac provokes vomiting


Law Dictionary

provoke

play
transitive verb pro·voke \prə-ˈvōk\

Legal Definition of provoke

provoked

provoking

  1. 1 :  to incite to anger

  2. 2 :  to provide the needed stimulus for

provoker

noun


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up provoke? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to be a fixed element or attribute

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

July 2017 Words of the Day Quiz

  • alt-597a99e699d07
  • Which is a synonym of gauche?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!