What’s the Difference Between Provoke and Incite?

We all know that words can be powerful things. They can motivate us, make us happy or sad, and even inspire us to change our lives or do something.

This is the case with the words provoke and incite. Although both words essentially mean “to stir up,” there are some important differences between them.

Let’s take a closer look at these two words and see when to use them.

What Is Provoke?

To provoke is to persuade someone to do something by using your words or actions. It’s a little like persuading and a little bit like tempting. You can provoke someone to do something by telling them to do it, or by doing it yourself and then telling them about it.

When we talk about provoking someone, we often mean trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do. This can be helpful in some cases (such as when a friend asks you for advice on how best to build their business).

However, it can also be hurtful when we use our words or actions in ways that aren’t helpful – such as trying to make someone jealous or angry with us!

What Is Incite?

The definition of incite is to urge someone to do something, usually something bad. Inciting someone can involve convincing them by words or actions or even just providing them the opportunity to do something. This can be very dangerous, as it can often lead to riots or other dangerous situations.

However, there is another side to incite. In some cases, the term can also be used to get someone to do something good. For example, a teacher might incite her students to work hard and get good grades. 

Provoke Means to Stir Up or Excite Someone, Inciting Means to Urge Someone to Do Something

When you provoke someone, you’re stirring up or exciting them. You may be doing this intentionally to get them to act or react in a certain way. Or maybe saying something that will upset the other person, and now they’re angry. Either way, when you provoke someone, you’re trying to get a reaction out of them.

Inciting, on the other hand, means pushing someone to take a certain action. You might incite someone to violence or to take action on a certain issue. Or you might simply urge them to do something they’ve been reluctant to do. But incitement always has the goal of getting someone to take action.

Provoking Someone Can Be Done on Purpose, Inciting Someone Can Happen Accidentally

When we provoke someone, we are intentionally trying to upset them or get them to behave a certain way. This can be done to get them to do something we want them to do, or just to watch them lose their temper.

Inciting someone on, on the other hand, is usually an accident. We may not even realize we are doing it, but our words or actions manage to get the other person riled up.

There can be a fine line between provoking and inciting someone, and it’s not always easy to know which one is happening. If someone seems angry after talking to you, take a step back and consider whether you may have provoked the person. And if you think you may have incited someone, it’s important to calm the situation down as quickly as possible.

Provoking Usually Requires Some Sort of Insult or Attack, Inciting Can Simply Involve Giving a Good Example or Suggestion

Provoking someone means getting them to react while inciting someone is used to get them to take action. Insults and attacks are often used to provoke someone, while examples and suggestions are more often used to incite someone.

For example, if you’re trying to get your friend to start working out, you might tell them about the many health benefits of exercise. This is an example that’s meant to incite them into taking action.

Inciting someone can also involve motivating them with positive reinforcement. For example, if you see someone doing something good, you might tell them how proud you are of them. This is a good example that’s meant to incite them into continuing their good behavior.

You Might Provoke a Discussion, You Might Incite a Riot

To provoke someone means to intentionally make them do something, such as get angry or argue with you. This can be by insulting them, challenging them, or even just teasing them. Provoking someone usually results in an exchange of words.

Inciting, on the other hand, can encourage someone to do something violent or destructive. This can be done by telling them that violence is the only way to get what they want, or by providing them with the weapons and information they need to carry out a riot. Inciting someone almost leads to chaos and destruction and may even lead to loss of life.

You Might Provoke Others to Do Something They Wouldn’t Have Done Otherwise, You Might Incite Others to Do Something They’re Already Inclined to Do

When you provoke someone, you get them to do something they wouldn’t have done otherwise. You may do this on purpose or by accident, but either way, it’s a powerful tool.

You may want the person to stand up to an enemy, or you may want them to take action on a problem they’ve been ignoring. Whatever the reason, provoking someone can cause them to take action when they wouldn’t have otherwise.

However, inciting someone is quite different. When you incite someone, you make them do something they’re already inclined to do. This can be something bad, like inciting a riot, or something good, like getting up and running a marathon. In either case, incitement is about pushing someone in the direction they’re already going.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you deal with someone who tries to provoke you?

When you’re trying to figure out how to deal with someone who’s trying to provoke you, it can be tough to know what to do. You may feel like there’s no way out of the situation and that the only way forward is to let the situation escalate.

But that’s not true! There are steps you can take to stay calm and stay in control when a person is trying to provoke you.

The first thing you should do is find out what kind of provocation this is: Is this person just trying to get a rise out of me because they enjoy seeing people angry? Or are they looking for a reason to escalate things to physical violence?

If it’s the former (and most provocations are), then the person will probably stop when they see that their attempt has failed – so stay calm and try not to react at all. If it’s the latter (and most provocations aren’t ), then let them know right away that you’re not going along with their plan. Be assertive and firm, but don’t get angry or violent yourself.

In any case, the best way to deal with provocation is to remain calm and in control. If you can do that, the person trying to provoke you is more likely to back down and give up. So take a deep breath, stay calm, and don’t let anyone get the better of you!

How do you deal with someone who incites you?

It can be very difficult to deal with people who incite you to do something. It’s important to keep your cool and not let their words get under your skin. You can also choose not to respond at all, which is often the best option. Here are some ways you can deal with them:

Ignore them completely. They’ll eventually get bored and stop inciting you.

Tell them calmly that you don’t appreciate their behavior, but that you’re not going to respond or get into an argument with them.

If possible, ignore them until they stop trying to provoke a response from you, and then let them know that there will be consequences if they continue. For example, suspension from school or expulsion from the group for disrupting class (if applicable).

Is incite positive or negative?

There can be a lot of debate about whether incitement is positive or negative, as it can be seen as both, depending on the situation. On one hand, inciting a person to take a certain action can lead to positive results, such as when a speaker encourages a crowd to take action and fight for their rights.

On the other hand, inciting a dangerous or harmful action can have negative consequences, such as when a person incites a fight or riot. Overall, then, it can be said that incitement is generally a positive force, but in some cases, it can also lead to negative outcomes.

Is provoking positive or negative?

Provoking someone can have both a positive and a negative effect. On one hand, provoking someone can motivate them to do more or accomplish something they otherwise wouldn’t have.

This can take the form of a challenge or simply be inspired by the other person’s words or actions. On the other hand, provoking can also lead to negative consequences, such as an argument or even a physical altercation.


The difference between provoke and incite is that provocation causes an emotional reaction, while incitement leads to action. Both words are used to describe the act of stirring something up, but with very different outcomes.

Provocation can make someone angry or defensive, while incitement can spur them to action. When using these words in your writing, it’s important to be aware of the distinction so you can use them correctly and get your point across effectively.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Share it on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?