[pruh-vin-shuh-liz-uh m]


narrowness of mind, ignorance, or the like, considered as resulting from lack of exposure to cultural or intellectual activity.
a trait, habit of thought, etc., characteristic of a provincial, a province, or the provinces.
a word, expression, or mode of pronunciation peculiar to a province.
devotion to one's own province before the nation as a whole.

Origin of provincialism

First recorded in 1760–70; provincial + -ism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for provincialism

Contemporary Examples of provincialism

  • No speechifying, no debates, no scolding of American provincialism, just a welcome view of what the rest of the world is reading.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What the World Is Reading

    Taylor Antrim

    April 30, 2009

  • But insularity or provincialism in the literary community, he said, is nothing to sneer at.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Nobel writer puzzles American authors

    Ross Goldberg

    October 9, 2008

Historical Examples of provincialism

  • I never intended to curse the people with a provincialism so vast as this.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • The provincialism with which I had cursed his people extended to himself.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • But, compared with the provincialism of the South of 1860, he is a cosmopolitan.

    The Negro and the Nation

    George S. Merriam

  • In this way they kept themselves free from the taint of provincialism.

    The Country House

    John Galsworthy

  • We could not give her over to a lumberman, doubly accursed by wealth and provincialism.

British Dictionary definitions for provincialism



narrowness of mind or outlook; lack of sophistication
a word or attitude characteristic of a provincial
attention to the affairs of one's province rather than the whole nation
the state or quality of being provincial
Also: localism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for provincialism

1820 in the political sense, "local attachment as opposed to national unity," from provincial + -ism. Meaning "manners or modes of a certain province or of provinces generally" (as opposed to the big city or capital) is from 1836. Sense of "a local word or usage or expression" is from 1770.

PROVINCIALISM consists in:
(a) An ignorance of the manners, customs and nature of people living outside one's own village, parish, or nation.
(b) A desire to coerce others into uniformity.
[Ezra Pound, "Provincialism the Enemy," 1917]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper