[ pruh-vizh-uh-nl ]
/ prəˈvɪʒ ə nl /

adjective Also pro·vi·sion·ar·y [pruh-vizh-uh-ner-ee] /prəˈvɪʒ əˌnɛr i/ (for defs. 1, 2).

providing or serving for the time being only; existing only until permanently or properly replaced; temporary: a provisional government.
accepted or adopted tentatively; conditional; probationary.
(usually initial capital letter) of or being the wing of the Irish Republican Army that follows a policy of violence.


Philately. a stamp that serves temporarily, pending the appearance of the regular issue, or during a temporary shortage of the regular stamps.
a provisional member of a group.
(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

OTHER WORDS FROM provisional Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for provisional

  • She had already taken that provisionary leap into a mythical future which is one of the perfunctory attitudes of maidenhood.

    The Wayfarers|Mary Stewart Cutting
  • The new system was defined as the "Provisionary Consulate;" but this form was only transitional.

  • Gentlemen, such are the series of experiments made by M. Gannal, since the first provisionary report was presented to you.

  • At three o'clock the imperial dynasty was proclaimed as at an end, and a provisionary government installed.

    Royal Palaces and Parks of France|Milburg Francisco Mansfield

British Dictionary definitions for provisional (1 of 2)


less commonly provisionary (prəˈvɪʒənərɪ)

/ (prəˈvɪʒənəl) /


subject to later alteration; temporary or conditionala provisional decision


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) /


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


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