View synonyms for provocative


[ pruh-vok-uh-tiv ]


  1. tending or serving to provoke; inciting, stimulating, irritating, or vexing.


  1. something provocative.


/ prəˈvɒkətɪv /


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

    a provocative remark

    a provocative look

“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

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Derived Forms

  • proˈvocatively, adverb
  • proˈvocativeness, noun
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Other Words From

  • 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
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Word History and Origins

Origin of provocative1

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

The New York Times published a report Sunday morning based on interviews with 21 men who alleged that Weaver sent them unwanted provocative messages or solicited them for sex, often in exchange for the promise of professional help.

Gonzalez is already one of the most provocative and unguarded lawmakers in California politics, so it’s hard to even picture what a less filtered, more aggressive posture might look like for her.

It seems particularly provocative for Google to do something like this while it is also dealing with a DOJ antitrust investigation.

Her new novel, “Outlawed,” stirs up the western with a provocative blend of alt-history and feminist consciousness.

That may sound un-Darwinian — and many biologists do consider it provocative.

This is a provocative subject that is ready-made for the classroom.

In fact, the question, though provocative and culturally important, may not even be new.

Instead, it was superficially crass and, in turn, barely provocative.

Lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg was as provocative as Hammerstein, though with a much less earnest, more whimsical sensibility.

We saw how such provocative actions only inflamed passions and escalated the unrest.

White with passion, Gray was on the point of uttering other angry and provocative words when Seton took his arm in a firm grip.

And she had good reason to believe that no woman had ever been more charming, distracting, provocative.

Fancy coming to the country for a rest, and reading Chamberlain, most restless because most provocative of books!

But that disposition presently evaporated, and his talk was good and fresh and provocative.

I was treated to an open letter, signed "Junius Secundus," and I replied in provocative terms.