Synonyms & Antonyms of provoke

1 to rouse to strong feeling or action
  • his teasing finally provoked her to anger
  • bees generally will not sting unless they are provoked

Synonyms for provoke

Words Related to provoke

Phrases Synonymous with provoke

Near Antonyms for provoke

2 to bring (something volatile or intense) into being
  • rankings that are sure to provoke an argument among film buffs

Synonyms for provoke

Words Related to provoke

Phrases Synonymous with provoke

Near Antonyms for provoke

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About provoke

How is the word provoke different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of provoke are exasperate, irritate, nettle, peeve, and rile. While all these words mean "to excite a feeling of anger or annoyance," provoke implies an arousing of strong annoyance that may excite to action.

remarks made solely to provoke her

In what contexts can exasperate take the place of provoke?

The synonyms exasperate and provoke are sometimes interchangeable, but exasperate suggests galling annoyance and the arousing of extreme impatience.

his exasperating habit of putting off needed decisions

When could irritate be used to replace provoke?

While in some cases nearly identical to provoke, irritate implies an often gradual arousing of angry feelings that may range from mere impatience to rage.

constant nagging that irritated me greatly

When is it sensible to use nettle instead of provoke?

The meanings of nettle and provoke largely overlap; however, nettle suggests a sharp but passing annoyance or stinging.

your pompous attitude nettled several people

When might peeve be a better fit than provoke?

The words peeve and provoke can be used in similar contexts, but peeve suggests arousing fretful often petty or querulous irritation.

a toddler peeved at being refused a cookie

When is rile a more appropriate choice than provoke?

Although the words rile and provoke have much in common, rile implies inducing an angry or resentful agitation.

the new work schedules riled the employees

Learn More About provoke

Time Traveler for provoke

Time Traveler

The first known use of provoke was in the 14th century

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Thesaurus Entries Near provoke




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Cite this Entry

“Provoke.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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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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