Borrowed from Middle French provoquer, from Old French, from Latin prōvocāre. Doublet of provocate.
provoke (third-person singular simple present provokes, present participle provoking, simple past and past participle provoked)
- (transitive) To cause someone to become annoyed or angry.
- Don't provoke the dog; it may try to bite you.
- 1577, William Harrison, “The Historie of Englande”, in The Firste Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande […], volume I, London: […] [Henry Bynneman] for Iohn Harrison, →OCLC, page 26, columns 1–2:
- In the meane time it chaunced, that Marcus Papyrius ſtroke one of the Galles on the heade with his ſtaffe, because he preſumed to ſtroke his bearde: with whiche iniurie the Gaulle beeing prouoked, ſlue Papyrius (as he ſate) with hys ſworde, and therewith the ſlaughter being begun with one, all the reſidue of thoſe auncient fatherly men as they ſat in theyr Chayres were ſlaine and cruelly murthered.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Ephesians 6:4:
- Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.
- (transitive) To bring about a reaction.
- 1881, John Burroughs, Pepacton:
- 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:
- 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.
- (obsolete) To appeal.
- , [John] Dryden, Religio Laici or A Laymans Faith. A Poem, London: […] Jacob Tonson […], →OCLC:
- Even Arius and Pelagius durst provoke
To what the centuries preceding spoke.
- (To cause to become annoyed or angry): harass
- (bring about a reaction): bring about, discompose, egg on, engender, evoke, grill, incite, induce, inflame, instigate, invoke, rouse, set off, stir up, whip up; see also Thesaurus:incite
to cause to become angry
to bring about a reaction
From French provoqué, past participle of provoquer.