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[prov-uh-key-shuh n] /ˌprɒv əˈkeɪ ʃən/
the act of provoking.
something that incites, instigates, angers, or irritates.
Criminal Law. words or conduct leading to killing in hot passion and without deliberation.
Origin of provocation
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin prōvocātiōn- (stem of prōvocātiō) a calling forth, equivalent to prōvocāt(us) (past participle of prōvocāre to provoke; see -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
provocational, adjective
nonprovocation, noun
overprovocation, noun
preprovocation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for provocation
  • Two officers continue to point tear-gas-filled rifles at the crowd, fingers on the trigger, as if waiting for a provocation.
  • But its not art because there is no questioning, provocation or idea.
  • The repression was far out of proportion to the provocation.
  • We are drawn to tension, to controversy, to provocation.
  • It is unclear whether it is over some silly local muscle-flexing, or a deliberately engineered provocation.
  • His career as a trial lawyer had taught him never to rise to provocation.
  • There is also the risk that any new provocation, or mishap, could quickly get out of hand.
  • She got angry, it seemed, at the slightest provocation.
  • Nakedness was less provocation than another design tool.
British Dictionary definitions for provocation


the act of provoking or inciting
something that causes indignation, anger, etc
(English criminal law) words or conduct that incite a person to attack another
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
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Word Origin and History for provocation

c.1400, from Old French provocacion (12c.) and directly from Latin provocationem (nominative provocatio) "a calling forth, a summoning, a challenge," noun of action from past participle stem of provocare "to call out" (see provoke).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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