[ pruh-vizh-uh-nl ]
See synonyms for provisional on
adjectiveAlso 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; contingent.

  1. (usually initial capital letter) of or being the wing of the Irish Republican Army that follows a policy of violence.

  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.

  1. Usually Provisional . a member of the Provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army.

Origin of provisional

First recorded in 1595–1605; provision + -al1

Other words for provisional

Other words from provisional

  • pro·vi·sion·al·i·ty, pro·vi·sion·al·ness, noun
  • pro·vi·sion·al·ly, adverb
  • non·pro·vi·sion·al, adjective
  • non·pro·vi·sion·al·ly, adverb
  • non·pro·vi·sion·ar·y, adjective
  • un·pro·vi·sion·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use provisional in a sentence

  • Events can profoundly shape us, yes, but I think in essence provisionally.

    Escape from Korea | Jane Ciabattari | March 13, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The new general felt he could ill spare a capable officer like Lannes, and consequently he retained him provisionally.

    Napoleon's Marshals | R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • Brodrick and the others had accepted the unique invitation, Laura Gunning provisionally.

    The Creators | May Sinclair
  • Meantime the governor gave us permission, provisionally, to have each two books at a time, and to exchange them when we pleased.

  • This is the route which was provisionally decided on by the great trans-Atlantic companies subsequent to the Titanic disaster.

    Loss of the Steamship 'Titanic' | British Government
  • A clause was also inserted provisionally recognizing the principle of the integrity of Denmark.

British Dictionary definitions for provisional (1 of 2)


less commonly provisionary (prəˈvɪʒənərɪ)

/ (prəˈvɪʒənəl) /

  1. subject to later alteration; temporary or conditional: a provisional decision

  1. a postage stamp surcharged during an emergency to alter the stamp's denomination or significance until a new or regular issue is printed

Derived forms of provisional

  • provisionally, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for Provisional (2 of 2)


/ (prəˈvɪʒənəl) /

  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

  1. Also called: Provo a member of the Provisional IRA or Sinn Féin

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