[ pruh-vok-uh-tiv ]
See synonyms for provocative on
  1. tending or serving to provoke; inciting, stimulating, irritating, or vexing.

  1. something provocative.

Origin of provocative

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Late Latin word prōvocātīvus.See provocation, -ive

Other words from provocative

  • pro·voc·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • pro·voc·a·tive·ness, noun
  • half-pro·voc·a·tive, adjective
  • non·pro·voc·a·tive, adjective
  • non·pro·voc·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • non·pro·voc·a·tive·ness, noun
  • qua·si-pro·voc·a·tive, adjective
  • qua·si-pro·voc·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·pro·voc·a·tive, adjective
  • un·pro·voc·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • un·pro·voc·a·tive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use provocative in a sentence

  • Till they met, the movement, the provocativeness was all on Lady Desdemona's side, Finn standing erect and still as graven bronze.

    Jan | A. J. Dawson
  • It tinged her words and looks with a provocativeness, a challenge, a consciousness of feminine power formerly foreign to them.

    A Young Man's Year | Anthony Hope
  • What counts is not the provocativeness but that we lift our gaze, determined to see, not just to look for the comforting familiar.

  • She used all her physical equipment with unconscious provocativeness, except her eyes, which were blankly distant.

    At the Post | Horace Leonard Gold

British Dictionary definitions for provocative


/ (prəˈvɒkətɪv) /

  1. acting as a stimulus or incitement, esp to anger or sexual desire; provoking: a provocative look; a provocative remark

Derived forms of provocative

  • 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