Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

WORD ORIGIN

mid-15c., "eliciting," from Middle French provocatif (15c.) and directly from Late Latin provocativus "calling forth," from provocat-, past participle stem of Latin provocare (see provoke). Specifically of sexual desire from 1620s. Related: Provocatively; provocativeness. The earliest appearance of the word in English is as a noun meaning "an aphrodisiac" (early 15c.).

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.