Key Difference – Evoke vs Provoke
Evoke and provoke are two verbs with similar meanings that are used to describe the stimulation of an emotion or feeling. Although both these verbs can refer to a simulation of an emotion, provoke is mainly used refer to a stimulation of a negative emotion or reaction whereas evoke is used to refer to both negative and positive emotions and reactions. This is the key difference between evoke and provoke.
What Does Evoke Mean?
Evoke means to recall something to the conscious mind. Thus, this verb refers to the stimulation of memory and emotions. The American Heritage Dictionary defines evoke as “to call to mind, as by suggestion, association, or reference” and the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “bring or recall (a feeling, memory, or image) to the conscious mind”.
The evocation of feelings or memory is not usually a deliberate act. For example, listening to a song or looking at a painting can evoke a memory of the past. Similarly, a person’s remark can also evoke a feeling or memory. But the verb evoke implies that the recalling of the feeling or memory is spontaneous.
The following sentences will help you to understand the meaning and usage of the verb evoke more clearly.
Her beautiful voice evoked memories of childhood.
The story of the refugees was able to evoke the sympathy of the audience.
The scene evoked nostalgic memories of his childhood.
The film evoked pleasant memories of time spent at school.
His actions have always evoked distrust, so I refused to believe him.
What Does Provoke Mean
Provoke mainly refers to a stimulation of a strong or negative emotion or reaction. It is also used with unwelcome feelings like anger and irritation. Provoke can also mean “to incite anger or resentment” (American Heritage Dictionary). Provoking someone is usually a deliberate action. For example, making an insulting remark to someone knowing that he’ll get angry can be described as provoking someone. Look at the following example sentences to understand the meaning of the verb provoke more clearly.
She shouted taunts over the fence to provoke his anger.
Despite their numerous slurs, he refused to be provoked.
The news provoked a storm of protests from the general public.
Eyewitnesses suggest that the protestors were deliberately provoking violence.
The guide explained that the animals usually don’t attack unless they are provoked.
He tried hard to provoke me, but I was very patient.
What is the difference between Evoke and Provoke?
Evoke vs Provoke
|Evoke means to recall something to the conscious mind.||Provoke means to stimulate a negative reaction or emotion in someone.|
|Type of Emotion|
|This verb is associated with both positive and negative emotions.||This verb is associated with negative or unwelcome emotions like anger.|
|Type of Action|
|Evoke typically refers to a spontaneous action.||Provoke typically refers to a deliberate action.
Summary – Evoke vs Provoke
Evoke and provoke both refer to a stimulation of an emotion or feeling. However, provoke typically refers to the stimulation of a strong and unwelcome emotion or reaction such as anger or resentment. Evoke, on the other hand, is used with both negative and positive emotions, i.e., it can be used in relation to pleasant or unpleasant emotions or memories. In addition, evoke tends to be a spontaneous action whereas provoke can be the result of a deliberate action. This is the difference between evoke and provoke.
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