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provocation

A provocation makes someone angry or sometimes even violent. Telling a professional boxer how ugly he is would be considered a provocation — one that might get you punched in the face.

Provocation is the act of provoking someone — doing something just to get a reaction. During election season, opponents sometimes use provocation to try to ruin one another's reputation. However, sometimes it backfires and the one doing the provoking, looking like a bully, loses votes. Some celebrities whose stars are fading use provocation like making scandalous statements to try to keep their names in the headlines.

Definitions of provocation
  1. noun
    something that incites or provokes; a means of arousing or stirring to action
    synonyms: incitation, incitement
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    types:
    signal
    any incitement to action
    type of:
    mental energy, psychic energy
    an actuating force or factor
  2. noun
    needed encouragement
    “the result was a provocation of vigorous investigation”
    synonyms: incitement
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    types:
    subornation
    underhandedly or improperly inducing someone to do something improper or unlawful
    subornation of perjury
    (law) inducing someone to make a false oath as part of a judicial proceeding
    type of:
    encouragement
    the expression of approval and support
  3. noun
    unfriendly behavior that causes anger or resentment
    synonyms: aggravation, irritation
    see moresee less
    types:
    aggro
    (informal British usage) aggravation or aggression
    last straw
    the final irritation that stretches your patience beyond the limit
    taunt, taunting, twit
    aggravation by deriding or mocking or criticizing
    type of:
    aggression
    deliberately unfriendly behavior
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