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

The young sculptor Davina Semo’s heavy bronze bells are a thought-provoking complement to a four-decade spread of paintings by Deborah Remington, who died in 2010. Will Heinrich, New York Times, "Summer Art Trek: Gallery Hopping in the Hudson Valley," 8 Aug. 2019 There are Toy Story touches from former Washington designer Rick Singleton, who transforms Erector Sets, among other ingredients, into eye-catching, thought-provoking art. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Like a good neighbor, Evening Star is still there," 7 Aug. 2019 The iconoclastic writer/director’s stamp is all over his ninth film (★★★ out of four; rated R; in theaters nationwide Friday), Tarantino's signature style and humor melding with violence, a little melancholy and thought-provoking character drama. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood' is a fairy tale only Quentin Tarantino could tell," 23 July 2019 From rainbow-generating waterfalls to a hypnotic fog tunnel, the show is both sensory and thought-provoking. Jaimie Potters, ELLE Decor, "Where Design Lovers Should Explore in London This Summer," 23 July 2019 Director/screenwriter Daniel Schechter’s topical family drama is funny, touching and thought-provoking, a confident feature that doesn’t need to wrap all situations up neatly. Randy Myers, The Mercury News, "SF Jewish Film Fest 2019 — 7 movies you need to see," 17 July 2019 The narrative twists and trapdoors in making Woody more cognizant of his own existence, and his wants and desires, are equal parts stress-inducing and thought-provoking for those of us who have grown attached to the pull-string cowboy. Allegra Frank, Vox, "All 21 Pixar movies, definitively ranked," 27 June 2019 Conferences, work meetings, parties, and even idle chit-chat with strangers can be anxiety-provoking. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "How to have great conversations with strangers," 25 June 2019 My National Geographic trip was such an educational and thought-provoking experience. National Geographic, "Namibia High School Expedition," 17 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

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

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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

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