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 Some feedback comes with pretty packaging, while others arrive in a less desirable package that provoke defensive responses. Simone Morris, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Hardly a storyline that would provoke dissent or violate a national security law. Alice Su, Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2021 Questions that provoke anxiety can lead to emotional reactions. Chron, 3 Sep. 2021 The details of the indictments are being kept secret by the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands in order not to provoke violence in the country. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, 18 July 2021 To overthrow Hamas, Israel would need to reoccupy Gaza in a prolonged and bloody operation that would provoke international condemnation. Joseph Krauss, Star Tribune, 14 May 2021 The next-generation vaccines will need to generate immunity that protects across strains and broadens the relevant viral antigens, portions of a virus that provoke an immune reaction. Cormac Sheridan, Scientific American, 30 Apr. 2021 Others, though, pointed out that the GIF might have been a form of Internet trolling, a childish attempt to provoke a disproportionate reaction from the media. Travis M. Andrews, Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2020 Is the prize ripe enough to provoke Beijing to start a war? George Calhoun, Forbes, 29 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries Near provoke

provocatory

provoke

provoking

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Statistics for provoke

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Provoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/provoke. Accessed 21 Oct. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on provoke

Nglish: Translation of provoke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of provoke for Arabic Speakers

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