Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


tr.v. pro·voked, pro·vok·ing, pro·vokes
1. To incite to anger or resentment: taunts that provoked their rivals.
2. To stir to action or feeling: a remark that provoked me to reconsider.
3. To give rise to; bring about: a miscue that provoked laughter; news that provoked an uproar.
4. To bring about deliberately; induce: provoke a fight.

[Middle English provoken, from Old French provoquer, from Latin prōvocāre, to challenge : prō-, forth; see pro-1 + vocāre, to call; see wekw- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: provoke, incite, excite, stimulate, arouse, rouse, stir1
These verbs mean to move a person to action or feeling or to summon something into being by so moving a person. Provoke often merely states the consequences produced: "Let my presumption not provoke thy wrath" (Shakespeare)."a situation which in the country would have provoked meetings" (John Galsworthy).
To incite is to provoke and urge on: Members of the opposition incited the insurrection. Excite implies a strong or emotional reaction: The movie will fail—the plot excites little interest or curiosity. Stimulate suggests renewed vigor of action as if by spurring or goading: "Our vigilance was stimulated by our finding traces of a large ... encampment" (Francis Parkman).
To arouse means to awaken, as from inactivity or apathy; rouse means the same, but more strongly implies vigorous or emotional excitement: "In a democratic society like ours, relief must come through an aroused popular conscience that sears the conscience of the people's representatives" (Felix Frankfurter)."The oceangoing steamers ... roused in him wild and painful longings" (Arnold Bennett).
To stir is to cause activity, strong but usually agreeable feelings, trouble, or commotion: "It was him as stirred up th' young woman to preach last night" (George Eliot)."I have seldom been so ... stirred by any piece of writing" (Mark Twain). See Also Synonyms at annoy.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.provoked - incited, especially deliberately, to angerprovoked - incited, especially deliberately, to anger; "aggravated by passive resistance"; "the provoked animal attacked the child"
angry - feeling or showing anger; "angry at the weather"; "angry customers"; "an angry silence"; "sending angry letters to the papers"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Revenge triumphs over death; love slights it; honor aspireth to it; grief flieth to it; fear preoccupateth it; nay, we read, after Otho the emperor had slain himself, pity (which is the tenderest of affections) provoked many to die, out of mere compassion to their sovereign, and as the truest sort of followers.
Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of the present federal government, feeble as it is; but there are several instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper conduct of individual States, who, either unable or unwilling to restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.
(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
To confess the truth, I am afraid Mr Jones was one of these; for though he was attacked and violently belaboured with the aforesaid weapon, he could not be provoked to make any resistance; but in a most cowardly manner applied, with many entreaties, to his antagonist to desist from pursuing her blows; in plain English, he only begged her with the utmost earnestness to hear him; but before he could obtain his request, my landlord himself entered into the fray, and embraced that side of the cause which seemed to stand very little in need of assistance.
Such excess of virtue and good-nature on the part of a ship always provoked my mistrust.
"Instead of coming to the assembly to look into our flesh and get provoked, they should work on improving the livelihoods of their people," said Kariuki.
The Provoked Wife is at Stratford Swan Theatre until September 7.
The response I recently provoked with a few brief, innocuous and mildly sympathetic words about Israel was enough to convince me that the answer is yes.
'My lord, it's true I brought a divorce suit against her when she provoked me, but I have changed my mind.
The patients' VTEs were classified as either cancer related, unprovoked (occurring in patients without any provoking factors), or provoked (occurring in patients with one or more provoking factors, such as recent major surgery, recent fracture/trauma, obesity, or hormone replacement therapy).
ISLAMABAD -- Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani on Saturday lamented the state's decision to give in to the demands of and enter an agreement with those who had "provoked the nation against the army and judiciary".
Rabbani felt that the state was unable to perform its job, saying: 'The public is being provoked against the judges who ruled as per the law.