un·​pro·​voked | \ˌən-prə-ˈvōkt \

Definition of unprovoked 

: 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

Police say the attacks were unprovoked and some victims were seriously hurt. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Son of Ryan O'Neal, Farrah Fawcett accused of crime spree in Los Angeles," 9 June 2018 From 1948 to 2017, 401 unprovoked bite incidents have occurred in Florida with 24 of these proving fatal. Monique O. Madan, miamiherald, "Video: Gator caught crossing airport runway; holds up a plane," 11 June 2018 According to the wildlife commission, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only one in 3.2 million. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Gator attacks, likely kills woman as she walked dogs in Florida," 8 June 2018 The unprovoked water hose incident at the Halloween dance. Jeremy Egner, New York Times, "‘Karate Kid’ Revisited: This Rivalry Is Not Quite Ready for a Body Bag," 26 Apr. 2018 The violent robbery was unprovoked, came without warning and left the teen victim with several facial injuries, including cuts and a missing tooth, police said. Alex Riggins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Police seek help to ID suspects in violent robbery on Barrio Logan trolley platform," 11 July 2018 Gómez González’s family in Guatemala has disputed the Border Patrol account of their agent being attacked, saying the shooting was unprovoked. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Hartford City Council Calls For President Trump To Face United Nations Court For Shooting Death of Migrant Woman In Texas," 31 May 2018 Cook County prosecutors, meanwhile, portrayed Rialmo’s actions as an unprovoked attack sparked by a man seeking his jacket at closing time. Dan Hinkel, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago cop in controversial fatal shooting goes on trial on misdemeanor charges for bar fight," 9 July 2018 According to the Burbank Police Department, a stranger had approached a 74-year-old man having coffee at the restaurant with his friends just before 11 a.m. and began stabbing him in the neck and shoulder in an unprovoked attack. Andy Nguyen, latimes.com, "‘It was just completely savage’: Good Samaritan recounts stopping knife attack at Burbank restaurant," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unprovoked.' 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 unprovoked

1534, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for unprovoked

The first known use of unprovoked was in 1534

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Spanish Central: Translation of unprovoked

Nglish: Translation of unprovoked for Spanish Speakers

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obstinately defiant of authority

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