Meaning of PROVOKE in English


prəˈvōk, prōˈ- transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English provoken, from Middle French provoquer, from Latin provocare, from pro- forth + vocare to call — more at pro- , vocation


a. archaic : to stir to a desired feeling or action : move deeply : arouse

your zeal hath provoked very many — 2 Cor 9:2 (Authorized Version)

b. : to incite to anger : incense

enough to provoke a saint

loved to … make his brakes screech just to provoke her — H.H.Reichard

2. archaic : summon , evoke

can honor's voice provoke the silent dust? — Thomas Gray


a. : to call forth (an emotion, action, activity) : bring on : evoke

a device that provoked an unfailing roar of laughter — Saturday Review

his candor provoked a storm of controversy — Times Literary Supplement

no area of school learning provokes as much concern — Education Digest

b. : to stir up on purpose : bring about deliberately

had foreseen and even provoked this invasion — Francis Hackett

did his best to provoke an argument — Lester Atwell

c. : to provide the needed stimulus for : call into being

provoking a vigorous development of logical studies — Times Literary Supplement

not merely anticipated the new methods but actually provoked them — Bryan Morgan

d. : to induce (a physical reaction)

provoke vomiting by tickling the throat

the hit … may provoke the nucleus to eject a particle — G.W.Gray b. 1886


excite , stimulate , pique , quicken : provoke may center attention on the fact of rousing to action or calling forth a response; often it implies little about cause, manner, or result, but is often used in connection with angry or vexed reactions

his personal emotions, the emotions provoked by particular events in his life — T.S.Eliot

to imagine the emotions and the actions of which she might provoke a man — B.A.Williams

it was not until the end of October that Turkey, by bombarding Russian Black Sea ports, provoked the Allies into declaring war on her — C.E.Black & E.C.Helmreich

excite , sometimes close to provoke, may suggest a more active stirring up, moving profoundly, awakening lively interest, or rousing to marked activity

feeling, which had drugged her until only half of her being was awake, had excited him into an unusual mental activity. He was animated, eager, weaving endless impracticable schemes — Ellen Glasgow

they were interested and excited by this prophetic voice calling for a renaissance in American political life — Bruce Bliven b. 1889

your letter as usual excites my envy at the description of your finds — O.W.Holmes †1935

stimulate applies to the heightening of activity or the rousing of the dominant or quiescent by something that spurs or incites or overcomes whatever makes for inactivity

increasing the supply of liquid assets in order to stimulate spending — W.M.Dacey

extra iron may be supplied to stimulate the formation of red blood cells — Morris Fishbein

his own thought was clarified by the impulse to coherent intelligibility which good teaching stimulates — M.R.Cohen

pique suggests provoking by mild irritation, slight, challenge, rebuff, or inciting curiosity or jealousy

one's interest is piqued but not captured by the chronicle of this weak-willed man — New York Times

the contrast between the pair held puzzles that piqued the inquisitive — Arnold Bennett

quicken applies to a general vivifying, stimulating, or making active, often beneficially

the sound of tuning strings combined with the hum of voices and the flutter of programs to quicken yet more the thrill of expectancy that ran down her veins — Clive Arden

his response was quickened and deepened by his mystical temperament — Times Literary Supplement

with his feeling of history quickened and sharpened, he was to find another stimulus to follow up this interest — Van Wyck Brooks

Synonym: see in addition irritate .

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.