Definition of provoke in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈvəʊk/


[with object]
1Stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone: the decision provoked a storm of protest from civil rights organizations
More example sentences
  • Deconstructionism is one of the words that provokes a strong reaction from both sides.
  • The Sri Lankan army, which has inflicted widespread damage and constantly harasses local residents, recently killed several local youth, provoking angry protests.
  • In fact the commission's analysis of the state of British convergence with the eurozone was very mild, extremely careful and deliberately designed to avoid provoking a bust-up.
1.1Stimulate or incite (someone) to do or feel something, especially by arousing anger in them: a teacher can provoke you into working harder
More example sentences
  • I view theatre as an institution that educates, stimulates, and provokes the audience - it makes them think and feel.
  • She is also comfortable following a traditional line with novels that do not seek to challenge or provoke the reader.
  • There are times when you have to provoke people, challenge them to go further.
1.2Deliberately make (someone) annoyed or angry: Rachel refused to be provoked
More example sentences
  • The warning about conduct was meant to stop people deliberately provoking him.
  • He could see tears in her eyes, and it made him angry that Jeff was provoking her.
  • Nathan was looking at her with a wild expression, the kind he got whenever she had deliberately provoked him.



Example sentences
  • We evaluated the sensitivity and safety of rapid atrial pacing combined with electrocardiography and transesophageal echocardiography for inducing and detecting provokable demand ischemia in 20 anesthetized patients with multivessel coronary artery disease.
  • This led to the development of the "provokable nice guy" strategy, a peace-maker until attacked.


Pronunciation: /prəˈvəʊkə/
Example sentences
  • The anxiety provokers - media, politicians, and arm chair generals - increase our level of fear, often for self-serving reasons.
  • As the family enacts various events or uses role play, the therapist may ask questions, direct interactions, or make comments, acting as a reporter, involved audience provoker, or director.
  • To a significant degree, the victim was an initiator, willing participant, aggressor, or provoker of the incident.


Late Middle English (also in the sense 'invoke, summon'): from Old French provoquer, from Latin provocare 'challenge', from pro- 'forth' + vocare 'to call'.

  • voice from Middle English:

    A word derived from Latin vox ‘voice’ and is related to vocabulary (mid 16th century), vocal (Middle English), vocation (Late Middle English), and vociferous (early 17th century), while the verb vocare ‘to call’ appears in convoke (late 16th century) ‘call together’; equivocate (Late Middle English) literally ‘call by the same name’; evoke (early 17th century) ‘call out’; invoke (Late Middle English) ‘call upon’; provoke (Late Middle English) ‘call forth’; revoke (Late Middle English) ‘call back’; and vouch (Middle English) and voucher (early 16th century). Vowel (Middle English) is from Old French vouel, from Latin vocalis (littera) ‘vocal (letter)’. The Latin root survives in vox pop, ‘an informal survey of people's opinion’, which is short for Latin vox populi or ‘voice of the people’. When people refer to an ignored advocate of reform as a voice in the wilderness they are echoing the words of John the Baptist proclaiming the coming of the Messiah: ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.’

Words that rhyme with provoke

awoke, bespoke, bloke, broke, choke, cloak, Coke, convoke, croak, evoke, folk, invoke, joke, Koch, moke, oak, okey-doke, poke, revoke, roque, smoke, soak, soke, spoke, stoke, stony-broke (US stone-broke), stroke, toke, toque, woke, yoke, yolk

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pro|voke

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