Meaning of “provoke” in the English Dictionary

"provoke" in British English

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provokeverb [ T ]

uk /prəˈvəʊk/ us /prəˈvoʊk/

provoke verb [ T ] (CAUSE REACTION)

C2 to cause a reaction, especially a negative one:

The prospect of increased prices has already provoked an outcry.
Test results provoked worries that the reactor could overheat.

More examples

  • Her manifest lack of interest in the project has provoked severe criticism.
  • The release from prison of two of the terrorists has provoked a public outcry.
  • These murders have provoked outrage across the country.
  • We have no intention of launching a pre-emptive strike, but we will retaliate if provoked.
  • The prime minister's speech provoked an angry response from the shadow cabinet.

(Definition of “provoke” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"provoke" in American English

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provokeverb [ T ]

us /prəˈvoʊk/

provoke verb [ T ] (ANGER)

to try to make a person or an animal angry or annoyed:

He was trying to provoke me into a fight.

provoke verb [ T ] (CAUSE REACTION)

to cause a particular reaction or feeling:

I’m trying to make people think, provoke their emotions.
His death provoked huge demonstrations.

(Definition of “provoke” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)