serving to provoke; causing annoyance.

Origin of provoking

First recorded in 1520–30; provoke + -ing2
Related formspro·vok·ing·ly, adverbun·pro·vok·ing, adjectiveun·pro·vok·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used with object), pro·voked, pro·vok·ing.

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

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

Synonym study

1. See irritate. 2, 3. See incite. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for provoking

Contemporary Examples of provoking

Historical Examples of provoking

British Dictionary definitions for provoking


verb (tr)

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
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 provoking

1520s, "that incites or instigates," present participle adjective from provoke. Meaning "irritating, frustrating" is attested from 1640s. Related: Provokingly.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper