Definition of provocative in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈväkədiv/


1Causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately: a provocative article his provocative remarks on race
More example sentences
  • I feel fairly sure that your article was deliberately provocative.
  • The FBU believe that the government is being deliberately provocative, and it is difficult not to share the view.
  • To be deliberately provocative, I asked him to call this period the Toronto new wave.
annoying, irritating, exasperating, infuriating, maddening, vexing, galling;
insulting, offensive, inflammatory, incendiary, controversial
informal aggravating, in-your-face
1.1Arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately.
Example sentences
  • The fashion industry dresses them in sexually provocative clothing.
  • Underneath his carping about provocative dress is a jealous and irrational partner.
  • When I opened them a tall, brunette woman in a provocative green dress stood before me.
sexy, sexually arousing, sexually exciting, alluring, seductive, suggestive, inviting, tantalizing, titillating;
indecent, pornographic, indelicate, immodest, shameless;
erotic, sensuous, slinky, coquettish, amorous, flirtatious
informal tarty, come-hither



Example sentences
  • Although Foster does have a slight grumble at the ‘curiously late’ analysis of Ireland's entry into the EU, he welcomes the provocativeness of Ferriter's analysis of the transformation throughout the century in question
  • When a modern artist or filmaker makes a work criticising Christianity or capitalism the BBC usually goes out of its way to explain the rationale for its provocativeness.
  • In this regard, there is a recurrent provocativeness in Weick's analyses, coupled with an impish spirit that often dances beneath his elegant prose.


Late Middle English: from Old French provocatif, -ive, from late Latin provocativus, from provocat- 'called forth, challenged', from the verb provocare (see provoke).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·voc·a·tive

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