provoke Definition

  • 1stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone
  • 2deliberately make (someone) annoyed or angry

Using provoke: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "provoke" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The decision to close the factory provoked an angry response from the workers.

  • Example

    She was trying to provoke him into a fight.

  • Example

    His comments provoked a storm of protest from environmental groups.

  • Example

    The article provoked a lively debate among readers.

provoke Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for provoke

Antonyms for provoke

Idioms Using provoke

  • to do something that is likely to cause a strong and angry reaction from someone


    You're really provoking a tiger if you keep insulting him like that.

  • to do something that is likely to bring bad luck or negative consequences


    I don't want to provoke fate by talking about how well things are going.

  • to do something that is likely to anger or offend the gods or fate


    The king's arrogance and hubris provoked the gods, leading to his downfall.

Phrases with provoke

  • cause people to laugh by saying or doing something funny


    Her witty remarks never failed to provoke laughter from the audience.

  • cause a response or reaction from someone


    The movie's shocking ending provoked a strong reaction from the audience.

  • cause someone to think deeply about a topic or issue


    The book's complex themes and ideas provoked thought and discussion among readers.

Origins of provoke

from Old French 'provoker', from Latin 'provocare', from 'pro-' (in front of) + 'vocare' (to call)


Summary: provoke in Brief

The verb 'provoke' [prəˈvəʊk] means to stimulate or give rise to a reaction or emotion, often a strong or unwelcome one, or to deliberately make someone annoyed or angry. It can be used in various contexts, such as 'The decision to close the factory provoked an angry response from the workers.' 'Provoke' can also be used in phrases like 'provoke laughter,' 'provoke a reaction,' and 'provoke thought.' Idioms like 'provoke a tiger' and 'provoke fate' denote actions that are likely to cause strong reactions or negative consequences.

How do native speakers use this expression?