un·​pro·​voked ˌən-prə-ˈvōkt How to pronounce unprovoked (audio)
: occurring without any identifiable cause or justification : not provoked
an unprovoked assault/attack
unprovoked anger

Examples of unprovoked in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The unprovoked war will pose humanitarian and environmental consequences long after the guns and missile launchers fall silent. Jennifer R. Littlejohn, Scientific American, 1 Aug. 2023 In one of the most serious incidents, Commander walked toward a Secret Service agent on Nov. 3, 2022, and, unprovoked, bit the officer on the upper right arm and thigh, leaving wounds that required hospitalization, according to the emails and records. Meryl Kornfield, Anchorage Daily News, 26 July 2023 And over the weekend, seemingly unprovoked, Doja Cat disowned the name completely. Jonah Valdez, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2023 Of those unprovoked bites, 41 occurred in the United States. Stephen Sorace, Fox News, 23 July 2023 Watson was held in custody for seven hours and released after a superior officer reviewed surveillance video that showed Bartlett beating Watson with a baton during an unprovoked encounter, according to court filings. Shelley Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, 31 Aug. 2023 Australia ranked behind only the United States in the number of unprovoked shark encounters with humans last year, according to the Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File. Angus Watson, CNN, 25 Aug. 2023 The department’s gang units have long been mired in controversy that reached its height with the late 1990s Rampart scandal that saw more than 70 police officers implicated in unprovoked shootings, assaults and evidence-planting. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 Lauren Pazienza, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter in the first degree for the unprovoked attack that killed Barbara Gustern, prosecutors said. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 23 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unprovoked.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unprovoked was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near unprovoked

Cite this Entry

“Unprovoked.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unprovoked. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

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