Try Our Apps


The Best Internet Slang


[pruh-vok-uh-tiv] /prəˈvɒk ə tɪv/
tending or serving to provoke; inciting, stimulating, irritating, or vexing.
something provocative.
Origin of provocative
late Middle English
First recorded in 1375-1425; late Middle English word from Late Latin word prōvocātīvus. See provocation, -ive
Related forms
provocatively, adverb
provocativeness, noun
half-provocative, adjective
nonprovocative, adjective
nonprovocatively, adverb
nonprovocativeness, noun
quasi-provocative, adjective
quasi-provocatively, adverb
unprovocative, adjective
unprovocatively, adverb
unprovocativeness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for provocatively
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The only change was in her eyes, which no longer smiled into his so provocatively.

    The Envoy, Her Horace Brown Fyfe
  • She smiled up at him provocatively and his sombre face lightened.

    The Lamp of Fate Margaret Pedler
  • “I can see that grand supper-party not coming off,” said Joan provocatively.

  • She allowed herself to smile mysteriously, provocatively at him.


    Arnold Bennett
  • The words were wafted back to us provocatively upon the evening air.

    American Adventures Julian Street
  • "I don't blame him at all," sobbed Miss Hawtry, provocatively, with the art of long practice both on the stage and off.

    Blue-grass and Broadway Maria Thompson Daviess
  • "I hear they call Georgie Bassett the 'little gentleman,'" ventured the barber, provocatively, meeting with instant success.

    Penrod Booth Tarkington
  • Kit immediately raised her left one, and waggled it provocatively over her shoulder.

    Kit of Greenacre Farm

    Izola Forrester
British Dictionary definitions for provocatively


acting as a stimulus or incitement, esp to anger or sexual desire; provoking: a provocative look, a provocative remark
Derived Forms
provocatively, adverb
provocativeness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for provocatively



mid-15c., "eliciting," from Middle French provocatif (15c.) and directly from Late Latin provocativus "calling forth," from provocat-, past participle stem of Latin provocare (see provoke). Specifically of sexual desire from 1620s. Related: Provocatively; provocativeness. The earliest appearance of the word in English is as a noun meaning "an aphrodisiac" (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for provocative

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for provocatively

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for provocatively