9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pruh-vok-uh-tur, -too r; French praw-vaw-ka-tœr] /prəˌvɒk əˈtɜr, -ˈtʊər; French prɔ vɔ kaˈtœr/
noun, plural provocateurs
[pruh-vok-uh-turz, -too rz; French praw-vaw-ka-tœr] /prəˌvɒk əˈtɜrz, -ˈtʊərz; French prɔ vɔ kaˈtœr/ (Show IPA)
a person who provokes trouble, causes dissension, or the like; agitator.
(italics) French. agent provocateur.
Origin of provocateur
1915-20; < French < Latin prōvocātor challenger, appellant, equivalent to provocā(re) to provoke + -tor -tor Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for provocateur
  • He is tough and charming, a persuader who knows how to listen, a provocateur who miraculously avoids making too many enemies.
  • It will be useful to give an example of arrangements for a meeting having the purpose of severing relations with a provocateur.
  • If anyone approaches you and says that he comes from the underground, he is a provocateur.
  • What the police need to learn is that as soon as they react to such provocation, the provocateur has won.
British Dictionary definitions for provocateur


a person who deliberately behaves controversially in order to provoke argument or other strong reactions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for provocateur

1915 (Emma Goldman), shortened form of agent provocateur "person hired to make trouble" (1845), from French provocateur, from Latin provocator "challenger," from provocare "to call out" (see provoke).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for provocateur

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for provocateur

Scrabble Words With Friends