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 Normally, numbers make my eyes glaze and provoke my biggest cynicisms. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: This is the formula for the Cincinnati Reds to win in the playoffs," 29 Sep. 2020 Trump remains an unpredictable sparring partner, which will keep Biden off balance and could provoke stumbles from a gaffe-prone rival.. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "First debate gives Trump chance to defend pandemic response and tax returns, Biden to pitch return to normal," 28 Sep. 2020 Sarah, Mark and Nippy contact additional news outlets to provoke outrage and pressure law enforcement to pay attention. Washington Post, "What to watch this weekend: ‘Bob’s Burgers’ returns on Fox," 26 Sep. 2020 Initial findings from the trials suggest the vaccine does provoke an immune response and is safe enough to move into large-scale trials. John Bonifield, CNN, "Johnson and Johnson vaccine produced strong immune response, early results say," 25 Sep. 2020 Unlike some recent nights, people did not take coordinated steps to provoke police, such as lighting dumpster fires. Michael Russell, oregonlive, "Oregon troopers respond to Portland protests Friday as Gov. Kate Brown calls for calm: Key takeaways," 5 Sep. 2020 Gu and the teaching assistants would poke and probe to provoke an emotional breakthrough. Yiren Lu, Wired, "A Week of Uncontrolled Sobbing at a Chinese Business Seminar," 17 Aug. 2020 The evidence also clearly shows that Taylor did nothing to provoke police officers to kill her in a hail of gunfire. Dahleen Glanton, Star Tribune, "Justice in Breonna Taylor's death fell victim to 'law and order' politics," 24 Sep. 2020 The arts entertain us, provoke us, inform us, inspire us. Photographs By Dina Litovsky, Victor Llorente And Daniel Arnold Michael Paulson, Elizabeth A. Harris And Graham Bowley, New York Times, "Get Ready for ‘a Radical Reshaping’," 23 Sep. 2020

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

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Provoke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/provoke. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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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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Comments on provoke

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