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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce provoke (audio)

Dictionary definition of provoke

To deliberately incite, stimulate, or arouse a reaction, emotion, or response in someone or something.
"His disrespectful comments can provoke anger in others."

Detailed meaning of provoke

When someone provokes, they intentionally say or do something that is likely to trigger a strong emotional or behavioral response from others. This verb often involves stirring up anger, annoyance, irritation, or resentment through words, actions, or behaviors. The aim of provoking can vary, ranging from seeking a particular reaction or asserting dominance to testing someone's patience or inciting a conflict. It can involve taunting, teasing, challenging, or deliberately pushing someone's buttons to elicit a response. The act of provoking can also extend to situations or circumstances where an event, situation, or action serves as a catalyst for evoking certain emotions, thoughts, or behaviors. Overall, the verb "provoke" signifies the intentional act of inciting or triggering a reaction, often with the intent of generating a particular response or outcome.

Example sentences containing provoke

1. The controversial statement could provoke a heated debate.
2. The daring challenge was meant to provoke a reaction.
3. Her constant teasing tends to provoke her younger sister.
4. The aggressive behavior may provoke a response from the authorities.
5. The comedian's jokes were designed to provoke laughter from the audience.
6. The provocative artwork aimed to provoke thought and discussion.

History and etymology of provoke

The verb 'provoke' finds its etymological origins in the Latin word 'provocare,' which is formed from 'pro,' meaning 'forth' or 'forward,' and 'vocare,' meaning 'to call' or 'to summon.' This etymology aptly captures the essence of provoking as deliberately inciting or summoning a reaction, emotion, or response in someone or something. It implies an active and intentional effort to elicit a specific reaction or response, often by stimulating strong emotions or pushing boundaries. The word 'provoke' reflects the notion of instigating or calling forth a particular outcome or behavior, underscoring its role in inciting deliberate actions or responses in others.

Quiz: Find the meaning of provoke

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Further usage examples of provoke

1. The reckless driving can provoke accidents on the road.
2. The politician's speech was intended to provoke a strong emotional response.
3. The article's misleading information could provoke confusion among readers.
4. The offensive gesture might provoke hostility from others.
5. The persistent harassment can provoke anxiety and fear in the victim.
6. The provocative clothing choice may provoke judgment from conservative individuals.
7. The intense competition can provoke a sense of determination in athletes.
8. The harsh criticism could provoke self-doubt in the artist.
9. The graphic content in the movie can provoke strong reactions from viewers.
10. The invasion of privacy may provoke outrage among the public.
11. The unethical business practices can provoke legal action.
12. The misleading advertisement might provoke distrust in the brand.
13. The unjust treatment can provoke a desire for justice in the affected individuals.
14. The provocative article was designed to provoke thought and discussion.



incite, calm, soothe, pacify


Frustration and Exasperation, Cause and Effect, Emotional Intensity and Reactions, Reactions and Response

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