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adjective Also pro·vi·sion·ar·y [pruh-vizh-uh-ner-ee] /prəˈvɪʒ əˌnɛr i/ (for defs 1, 2).
  1. providing or serving for the time being only; existing only until permanently or properly replaced; temporary: a provisional government.
  2. accepted or adopted tentatively; conditional; probationary.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) of or being the wing of the Irish Republican Army that follows a policy of violence.
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  1. Philately. a stamp that serves temporarily, pending the appearance of the regular issue, or during a temporary shortage of the regular stamps.
  2. a provisional member of a group.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) a member of the Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army.
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Origin of provisional

First recorded in 1595–1605; provision + -al1
Related formspro·vi·sion·al·i·ty, pro·vi·sion·al·ness, nounpro·vi·sion·al·ly, adverbnon·pro·vi·sion·al, adjectivenon·pro·vi·sion·al·ly, adverbnon·pro·vi·sion·ar·y, adjectiveun·pro·vi·sion·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for provisionally


Examples from the Web for provisionally

Historical Examples of provisionally

  • This route had therefore, provisionally at least, to be rejected.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • "They are only provisionally transferred, you know," said the Governor.

    A Tangled Tale

    Lewis Carroll

  • He was one of the “provisionally exiled;” he had died in Rome.

    The Bondwoman

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • How the matter was provisionally treated is related in Malipiero, Ann.

  • I ask only provisionally, as I have not yet had time to reflect on the subject.

British Dictionary definitions for provisionally


  1. of, designating, or relating to the unofficial factions of the IRA and Sinn Féin that became increasingly dominant following a split in 1969. The Provisional movement remained committed to a policy of terrorism until its ceasefires of the mid-1990s
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  1. Also called: Provo a member of the Provisional IRA or Sinn Féin
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Compare Official


less commonly provisionary (prəˈvɪʒənərɪ)

  1. subject to later alteration; temporary or conditionala provisional decision
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  1. a postage stamp surcharged during an emergency to alter the stamp's denomination or significance until a new or regular issue is printed
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Derived Formsprovisionally, adverb
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 provisionally



"as a temporary arrangement for the present," c.1600, from provision (n.) + -al (1), or else from Middle French provisionnal (15c.), from Old French provision. The notion is of something that will "provide for present needs." Related: Provisionally.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper