One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Calculated or tending to provoke; = "provocative".
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Reginald Pecock (c1392–?1459), bishop of Chichester and religious author. From classical Latin prōvocātōrius relating to a challenge (2nd cent. a.d.) from prōvocāt-, past participial stem of prōvocāre + -ōrius. In later use probably partly also from provocate + -ory; compare -atory. In use as noun apparently after French † provocatoire.
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