From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishprovokepro‧voke /prəˈvəʊk $ -ˈvoʊk/ ●●○ verb [transitive] 1 CAUSEto cause a reaction or feeling, especially a sudden oneprovocationprovoke a protest/an outcry/criticism etc The proposal provoked widespread criticism. The decision to invade provoked storms of protest.provoke debate/discussion The novel has provoked fierce debate in the US.provoke somebody into (doing) something She hopes her editorial will provoke readers into thinking seriously about the issue.provoke somebody to do something Emma, though still at school, was provoked to help too.2 ANGRYto make someone angry, especially deliberately The dog would not have attacked if it hadn’t been provoked.provoke somebody into (doing) something Paul tried to provoke Fletch into a fight.COLLOCATIONSnounsprovoke a reaction/responseThe report provoked a furious reaction from staff.provoke debate/discussion/controversyA new book criticising Hollywood has provoked fierce debate in the US.provoke criticismThe introduction of the tax provoked widespread criticism.provoke protest(s)/an outcryNot surprisingly, the new rules have provoked protests from gun owners.The crackdown provoked an international outcry.provoke anger/outrageHis detention has provoked the anger of his supporters.provoke oppositionThe government's proposals provoked widespread backbench opposition. provoke hostilityAggressive behaviour provokes hostility.provoke violenceIt was a small incident but it provoked weeks of violence.provoke interestTheir campaign provoked great interest.provoke laughterSara's remark provoked faint laughter. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
provokeThis call for help provokes a specific urgent reaction and interaction in the listener.The proposal provoked a storm of criticism that it was racist from immigration groups and campaigners on behalf of ethnic minorities.Yet at the same time his remark provoked a traitorous pang of delight.The judge ruled that Becker provoked her husband to attack her so she could shoot him.For one moment he hesitated, provoking her to give in to the gentle malice which settled inside her.The dog wouldn't bite you for just petting her. You must have provoked her.Dole's comments provoked laughter from the press.You talk about everything, don't care if you provoke people, there's no rules, it's very free-form.Both evoke pity, but Caroline occasionally also provokes revulsion.The poem is given here in its 1807 version, since this provoked the controversy over it.The new laws have provoked violent demonstrations in some towns.But when the others sat for the Scripture readings, Ray McGovern remained upright in their midst, provoking wariness and speculation.The ambassador's offensive remarks provoked widespread criticism.provoke somebody to do somethingHis criticisms only provoked her to work harder.provoke somebody into (doing) somethingBut it might not provoke Balliol into action.But I am glad that I provoked him into an unqualified withdrawal of his disgraceful unjustified comments.I would like to attempt to provoke you into asking what can be done with what we've got.But presented in this systematic and visually effective manner, they provoked viewers into consideration about the state of the nation.Such non-ending cheeriness provoked the nonconformists into dwelling upon those aspects of the human condition which Socialist Realism refused to acknowledge.Either Quinn knew just what he was doing or he was going to provoke the kidnapper into putting down the phone.If he were to tell the truth it would provoke Newton into the next carriage across the Sands.Its long-term effect however was to provoke Edinburgh employers into various devices to evade the high piece-work rates stipulated by the Interlocutor.
Origin provoke (1300-1400) French provoquer, from Latin provocare, from vocare to call