• WordNet 3.6
    • adj provocative serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate; stimulating discussion or exciting controversy "a provocative remark","a provocative smile","provocative Irish tunes which...compel the hearers to dance"- Anthony Trollope"
    • adj provocative exciting sexual desire "her gestures and postures became more wanton and provocative"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Provocative Anything that is provocative; a stimulant; as, a provocative of appetite.
    • a Provocative Serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate; exciting.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • provocative Serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate; exciting; apt to incense or enrage: as, provocative threats.
    • n provocative Anything that tends to excite appetite or passion; a stimulant.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adjs Provocative tending to provoke or excite
    • ***


  • John Tillotson
    John Tillotson
    “To be able to bear provocation is an argument of great reason, and to forgive it of a great mind.”
  • H. L. Mencken
    “A gentlemen is one who never strikes a woman without provocation.”
  • Llewelyn Powys
    Llewelyn Powys
    “No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. provocativus,: cf. OF. provocatif,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. provoquer—L. provocāre, pro, forth, vocāre, to call.


In literature:

It was a murder, a wanton murder, without provocation, excuse, extenuation or palliation whatever.
"The Vigilance Committee of '56" by James O'Meara
They are a provocation to thieves.
"At the Villa Rose" by A. E. W. Mason
That is one thing, my dear, a Rutter never violates, no matter what the provocation.
"Kennedy Square" by F. Hopkinson Smith
But on the first provocation of circumstances, these traits stood boldly forth.
"Tillie: A Mennonite Maid" by Helen Reimensnyder Martin
Sebastian's tone was one of provocation, of defiance, I might almost say of challenge.
"Hilda Wade" by Grant Allen
The Arab tribes lacked no provocation.
"The River War" by Winston S. Churchill
But the person who told it you does not seem to have known any of the provocations which she received.
"The Belton Estate" by Anthony Trollope
Duels had sprung from less provocation than had been given by Colonel Sheldon.
"The Hidden Children" by Robert W. Chambers
Her lips had the half-sensuous, half-childish pout provocative of kisses.
"The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne" by William J. Locke
The sound was provocative of thought.
"The Rainbow Trail" by Zane Grey
He was of intemperate habits, and beat his wife on little provocation.
"A Zola Dictionary" by J. G. Patterson
Larry, under such provocation as that of course would ride, and he did ride.
"The American Senator" by Anthony Trollope
Thy jokes were as physic; thy innocent satire was provocative of hysteric mirth.
"How I Found Livingstone" by Henry M. Stanley
With or without provocation, the boy poured forth a tuneful stream.
"Autobiography of a YOGI" by Paramhansa Yogananda
To my judgment, she is a woman whose fondness for you might be turned into a tigerish fondness, on very small provocation.
"Heart and Science" by Wilkie Collins
Good natured as the smith, in spite of his warlike propensities, really was in the utmost degree, his patience failed under such a provocation.
"The Fair Maid of Perth" by Sir Walter Scott
And I repeat, I think, your provocations and inducements considered, that ever young creature was who took such a step.
"Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)" by Samuel Richardson
Well, I must apologize for writing such an egotistical and intimate sort of letter on so slight a provocation.
"A Student in Arms" by Donald Hankey
She was daring, sophisticated, provocative.
"The Day of the Beast" by Zane Grey
And really the provocation had been intense.
"The Tysons" by May Sinclair

In poetry:

Through the fiery furnace
Walk, O Love, beside me;
In the provocation
From the tempter hide me.
"Pro Castitate" by Digby Mackworth Dolben

In news:

Los Angeles boutique Blood is the New Black claims it was unaware it had been selling shirts of an underage 15-year-old model in a provocative position that's become the centerpiece of a $28 million lawsuit.
Chris Jordan's Plastic Provocation .
It describes its show as "edgy and provocative," with acts that "range from the raunchy and risque to the tender and tear-jerking.
"Cosmopolis" is proof that a film can be provocative yet completely un-enjoyable.
The wild world of jazz's most provocative trumpeter.
It was a provocative finding.
Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso each posed provocatively for the same magazine.
The latest Newsweek magazine is getting attention for its provocative cover, but instead of provoking serious discussion, people on social media are ridiculing it.
Provocative Palestine-Israel ads at New York train stations rile critics.
Today I interview Hanna Rosin , the author of the fascinating and provocative new book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, which explores the shift in power dynamics between men and women and what it means for the future.
We reprint today in memory of the author of one of the most provocative Sea Foam submissions.
"Pink Film Revolution" spotlights provocative filmmaker Koji Wakamatsu.
Israel's Lieberman says Iranian warships headed for Suez Canal in 'provocation'.
Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love on Wednesday addressed his latest critical comments about the franchise and stood by everything he said in Tuesday's provocative Yahoo Sports report.
"Transgender at Five" declares the provocative headline.

In science:

This is the provocative title of a recent report in Physics Today .
Quantum theory and the role of mind in nature
Furthermore, provocative new connections between knot theory and statistical mechanics arise from this theory.
The Tutte-Potts connection in the presence of an external magnetic field
It is very provocative to have two very different connections between the Potts model and quantum knot invariants.
The Tutte-Potts connection in the presence of an external magnetic field
To put it provocatively, the ensemble average assumes an infinite number of parallel universes.
Menger 1934 revisited
This result of Duminil-Copin and Smirnov provides a rigorous and provocative verification of a prediction of Nienhuis based on conformal field theory.
Three theorems in discrete random geometry
In order to explain the even-odd or the Gnevyshev–Ohl effect of solar cycles, Charbonneau, St-Jean & Zacharias (2005) and Charbonneau, Beaubien & St-Jean (2007) made the highly provocative suggestion that the solar dynamo may be sitting in a region of period doubling just beyond the point of nonlinear bifurcation.
Dynamo models of grand minima
Ok, that’ s a fairly provocative statement (which did promote some discussion at the conference!).
Are the modern computer simulations a substitute for physical models? The SKA case
This entails a rather provocative question as to the progenitor of R 84.
The LMC transition star R84 and the core of the LH 39 OB association
One focal point for finding this generalization is the issue of how the relation of RR charges and K-theory can be compatible with the S-duality of IIB string theory. (This was, in fact, the central motivating question behind 1,2 .) For some provocative recent results on this sub ject see 16 .
Some Comments on Branes, G-flux, and K-theory
This provocative suggestion caused a heated discussion.
Summary of the YITP-RCNP Workshop on Chiral Restoration in Nuclear Medium
The constant freezeout temperature for high energy ion collisions, appearing at the theoretical boundary between confined and deconfined matter is provocative.
Exploring QCD with Heavy Ion Collisions
With this short note I would like to answer the rather provocative note of Okun, Rotaev, Schepkin and Tsukerman (O.R.S.T.) in Ref. .
Reply to "A remark on the 'Theory of neutrino oscillations'"
This was followed by provocative talks by Yanbei Chen on “Various Ways of Beating the Standard Quantum Limit”, and by T.
Matters of Gravity, the newsletter of the Topical Group in Gravitation of the American Physical Society
Introduction What happens when gravity is no longer an attractive force? This provocative question is currently confronting cosmology.
Seeing Darkness: the New Cosmology
I will close this commentary with a provocative recommendation I have offered at meetings since 2005 but not yet in print, born of my experience using multilevel models for astronomical populations.
Bayesian astrostatistics: a backward look to the future