Provoke, excite, stimulate, pique, quicken, galvanize can all mean to rouse one into doing or feeling something or to call something into existence by so rousing a person.
Provoke stresses a power in the agent or agency sufficient to produce such an effect, but it is often the least explicit of these terms as to the nature or character of that power and may imply nothing more than the effecting of the stated result.
Excite carries so strong an implication of a rousing that stirs up, moves profoundly, or serves as a challenge to one’s powers that the term is often used merely in the sense of to rouse in any of these ways.
Often, however, excite adds to these implications those found in provoke, and thereby becomes a more explicit or richer word than the latter by suggesting the powerful or stirring nature of the agent or agency and the degree or intensity of the activity stirred up.
Stimulate suggests a provoking or exciting by or more often as if by a prick, a spur, or a goad; sometimes therefore it connotes a rousing out of lethargy, indifference, inaction, or inactivity, or a bringing forth into play something that is latent, dormant, or quiescent.
Often stimulate specifically implies excitement or reexcitement of interest, especially of an intellectual interest.
Pique, a term of more restricted application, suggests provocation or stimulation by or as if by something that pricks or irritates.
Quicken implies a stimulation of life, vigor, energy, or activity with consequent beneficial results.
Galvanize suggests a highly artificial stimulating or quickening, especially of something old, or stiff, or dying.