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provocation Line breaks: provo|ca¦tion
Pronunciation: /ˌprɒvəˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/

Definition of provocation in English:


[mass noun]
1Action or speech that makes someone angry, especially deliberately: you should remain calm and not respond to provocation he burst into tears at the slightest provocation
More example sentences
  • His provocations were always deliberately intended to challenge his readers as well as the establishment.
  • Whatever the reasons, whatever the provocations, this is where hatred gets us - innocent people murdered as they go about their ordinary business.
  • The insurgents take advantage of darkness to conduct provocations during armistices or when negotiations are underway.
goading, prodding, egging on, incitement, rousing, stirring, stimulation, prompting, inducement, encouragement, urging, inspiration, stimulus, pressure;
annoyance, irritation, nettling, agitation, vexation, being rubbed up the wrong way;
harassment, plaguing, molestation;
teasing, taunting, torment;
informal hassle, aggravation
1.1 Law Action or speech held to be likely to prompt physical retaliation: the assault had taken place under provocation
More example sentences
  • As the judge reminded the jury, in interview Bodrul denied that he was acting in self - defence and he said that he was not acting under provocation.
  • Moore and Girling denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter under provocation.
  • In some cases defendants run the two qualified defences of provocation and diminished responsibility in tandem.
2The action of arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately: walking with deliberate provocation, she struck a pose, then giggled
More example sentences
  • Madonna may have experimented with hair, politics, outfits and sexual provocation, but Kylie didn't.
  • Kathleen Turner, who has never lost the art of sexual provocation, makes an absolutely sensational London stage debut.
  • Claims of sexual provocation were not enough to sway a jury from finding Far North farm worker Craig Ross guilty of murder.
3 Medicine Testing to elicit a particular response or reflex: twenty patients had a high increase of serum gastrin after provocation with secretin
More example sentences
  • This study has validated the inhalation provocation test for the diagnosis of chronic BFL.
  • Several investigators have carried out inhalation provocation tests using dropping extracts or bird sera.
  • Baseline sensitivity to grass pollen as measured by the conjunctival provocation test did not differ.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin provocatio(n-), from the verb provocare (see provoke).

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