- to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex.
- to stir up, arouse, or call forth (feelings, desires, or activity): The mishap provoked a hearty laugh.
- to incite or stimulate (a person, animal, etc.) to action.
- to give rise to, induce, or bring about: What could have provoked such an incident?
- Obsolete. to summon.
Origin of provoke
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. irk, annoy, aggravate, exacerbate, infuriate. 2. rouse, instigate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for provoke
But he insisted that there is nothing about her death to provoke additional scrutiny.The Mystery Death Of A Female Firefighter
December 13, 2014
The holiday may see more Hongkongers hit the streets, which in turn could provoke the authorities to take more-draconian measures.Occupy Hong Kong Hangs On
September 30, 2014
For example, the MTA prohibits ads that “incite or provoke violence.”To Fight Pam Geller, Join Our Comedy Jihad at the MTA
September 23, 2014
Outsiders came to the town to looking to provoke the authorities, but the community did what the cops couldn't: keep the peace.The Communist Agitators Trying to Ignite Ferguson
August 23, 2014
When ISIS beheaded an American journalist, it meant to intimidate—and provoke—the United States.Obama vs. ISIS: This Time It's Personal
August 22, 2014
All of them, at the same time, are afraid of Mr. Lovelace; yet not afraid to provoke him!Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
The proper business of an ‘agent provocateur’ is to provoke.The Secret Agent
The worst of it was, I did not provoke him as much as I expected.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
I told him I had hitherto spared him, but wished him not to provoke me further.The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
Nay, says she, since you provoke me, I will mention one instance.Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2
- to anger or infuriate
- to cause to act or behave in a certain manner; incite or stimulate
- to promote (certain feelings, esp anger, indignation, etc) in a person
- obsolete to summon
C15: from Latin prōvocāre to call forth, from vocāre to call
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
Word Origin and History for provoke
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper