Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To incite to anger or resentment.
  • transitive v. To stir to action or feeling.
  • transitive v. To give rise to; evoke: provoke laughter.
  • transitive v. To bring about deliberately; induce: provoke a fight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to cause someone to become annoyed or angry.
  • v. to bring about a reaction.
  • v. To appeal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To cause provocation or anger.
  • intransitive v. To appeal. [A Latinism]
  • transitive v. To call forth; to call into being or action; esp., to incense to action, a faculty or passion, as love, hate, or ambition; hence, commonly, to incite, as a person, to action by a challenge, by taunts, or by defiance; to exasperate; to irritate; to offend intolerably; to cause to retaliate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To call forth or out; challenge; summon.
  • To stimulate to action; move; excite; arouse.
  • To call forth; cause; occasion; instigate.
  • To excite to anger or passion; exasperate; irritate; enrage.
  • Synonyms and To stir up, rouse, awake, induce, incite, impel, kindle.
  • Irritate, Incense, etc. (see exasperate), offend, anger, chafe, nettle, gall.
  • To appeal.
  • To produce anger or irritation. Compare provoking.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. annoy continually or chronically
  • v. call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
  • v. provide the needed stimulus for
  • v. evoke or provoke to appear or occur

Etymologies

Middle English provoken, from Old French provoquer, from Latin prōvocāre, to challenge : prō-, forth; see pro- + vocāre, to call.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French provoquer, from Latin prōvocāre. (Wiktionary)

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