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Definition actions that cause a reaction—especially anger or violence


the act of causing an angry or violent reaction
  • Police are expected to hold their temper regardless of the degree of verbal provocation.
  • the result was a provocation of vigorous investigation
  • told me never to use words like that except in ex-extreme provocation, and Francis provocated me enough to knock his block off-
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • provocation = something that causes a violent or angry reaction
  • "Well I don't," said Uncle Jack, "not unless there's extreme provocation connected with 'em."
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • provocation = something that causes a violent or angry reaction
  • To the Nazarene they were hours of insult, provocation, and slow dying.
    Lew Wallace  --  Ben Hur
  • Essentially the Ousters had to be provoked into attacking, and the key to that provocation was the world of Hyperion.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion
  • After that series of provocations, the city exploded into a riot.
    John Howard Griffin  --  Black Like Me
  • You must have had some provocation.
    Cormac McCarthy  --  All the Pretty Horses
  • He had swept it out of existence, as it seemed, without any provocation, as a boy might crush an ant hill, in the mere wantonness of power.
    H.G. Wells  --  The War of the Worlds
  • This was one provocation too many.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • His cheeks and the tip of his nose were covered with twitchy blood vessels, ready to flush at the least provocation.
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • I cannot believe that he has done this deed, unless in self-defence, or on some justifiable provocation.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Prairie
  • On the present occasion, he was reluctant to proceed to extremities, although the provocation was so great.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Deerslayer
  • The incidents were always preceded by some kind of provocation.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
  • She had not planned it, but the question, which she had quite forgotten, from the Book of Common Prayer, was a provocation.
    Ian McEwan  --  Atonement
  • Most people, fortunately, do not respond with murderous out-bursts even under extreme provocation.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • It was a composure born of extreme provocation.
    Arundhati Roy  --  The God of Small Things
  • True; but I have been tossed to and fro in doubt if I ought, after such strong provocation.
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Return of the Native
  • He hurried through his plea of provocation, and then he, too, started in about my soul.
    Albert Camus  --  The Stranger
  • If they agree to a truce, they observe it so religiously that no provocations will make them break it.
    Thomas More  --  Utopia

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