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See more synonyms for provoke on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), pro·voked, pro·vok·ing.
  1. to anger, enrage, exasperate, or vex.
  2. to stir up, arouse, or call forth (feelings, desires, or activity): The mishap provoked a hearty laugh.
  3. to incite or stimulate (a person, animal, etc.) to action.
  4. to give rise to, induce, or bring about: What could have provoked such an incident?
  5. Obsolete. to summon.
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Origin of provoke

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin prōvocāre to call forth, challenge, provoke, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + vocāre to call; akin to vōx voice
Related formspro·vok·er, nounmis·pro·voke, verb (used with object), mis·pro·voked, mis·pro·vok·ing.o·ver·pro·voke, verb, o·ver·pro·voked, o·ver·pro·vok·ing.pre·pro·voke, verb (used with object), pre·pro·voked, pre·pro·vok·ing.un·pro·voked, adjective

Synonyms for provoke

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Synonym study

1. See irritate. 2, 3. See incite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for provoker

Historical Examples of provoker

  • It may too, by negligence, become a provoker of dissension and enmity.

    The Young Maiden

    A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey

  • She breaks into an affectionate laugh, and kisses its provoker, who protests.

    Somehow Good

    William de Morgan

  • Not only was he a great preacher, he was a leader, an inspirer, and a provoker of good.

    A Backward Glance at Eighty

    Charles A. Murdock

  • Nay, now I have caught you; there was neither inviter, nor provoker, for I was all alone.

British Dictionary definitions for provoker


verb (tr)
  1. to anger or infuriate
  2. to cause to act or behave in a certain manner; incite or stimulate
  3. to promote (certain feelings, esp anger, indignation, etc) in a person
  4. obsolete to summon
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Derived Formsprovoking, adjectiveprovokingly, adverb

Word Origin for provoke

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 provoker



late 14c., from Old French provoker, provochier (12c., Modern French provoquer) and directly from Latin provocare "call forth, challenge," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + vocare "to call" (see voice (n.)). Related: Provoked; provoking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper