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Borrowed from Middle French provoquer, from Old French, from Latin prōvocāre. Doublet of provocate.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɹəˈvəʊk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /pɹəˈvoʊk/
  • Rhymes: -əʊk
  • (file)


provoke (third-person singular simple present provokes, present participle provoking, simple past and past participle provoked)

  1. (transitive) To cause someone to become annoyed or angry.
    Don't provoke the dog; it may try to bite you.
  2. (transitive) To bring about a reaction.
    • (Can we date this quote by J. Burroughs and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      To the poet the meaning is what he pleases to make it, what it provokes in his own soul.
    • 2011 November 12, “International friendly: England 1-0 Spain”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Spain were provoked into a response and Villa almost provided a swift equaliser when he rounded Hart but found the angle too acute and could only hit the side-netting.
  3. (obsolete) To appeal.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)


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