prov·​e·​nance | \ ˈpräv-nən(t)s How to pronounce provenance (audio) , ˈprä-və-ˌnän(t)s \

Definition of provenance

1 : origin, source
2 : the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature

Examples of provenance in a Sentence

Has anyone traced the provenances of these paintings? The artifact is of unknown provenance.
Recent Examples on the Web How important is an antique’s provenance, or history of ownership and documentation of origin? oregonlive, 31 May 2022 Here’s my conversation with breakbeat connoisseur DJ about food, the band’s provenance, spirituality as an influence on the band’s tunes, and his role as a drummer in a group that emphasizes feeling over power. Alessandro Corona, The Enquirer, 27 Apr. 2022 The provenance, or ownership history, of the sculpture, leads straight back to Carpeaux’s workshop. Steven Litt, cleveland, 17 Apr. 2022 Streetwear — long the provenance of New York hip-hop and California surf culture — has been making its way to the green grass of golf courses. New York Times, 8 Apr. 2022 Most accounts of this choker's provenance—and eventual fate—may be apocryphal but that hasn't tempered the myth of Anne Boleyn and her signature accessory. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 13 Mar. 2022 China and Singapore have been early to understand the benefits of the blockchain for supply chain management, not just for the provenance and tracking of goods, but for tax, customs, and digital rights. Lawrence Wintermeyer, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 There's no Eiffel Tower, of course, but there's enough 17th-century ambience to make a convincing case for provenance, particularly in central Old Québec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only walled city in North America outside of Mexico. Elaine Glusac New York Times, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 But it’s the fiber’s provenance that makes this shirt (and all of Free Fly’s apparel) sustainable. Rachel Walker, Washington Post, 14 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'provenance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of provenance

1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for provenance

French, from provenir to come forth, originate, from Latin provenire, from pro- forth + venire to come — more at pro-, come

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The first known use of provenance was in 1785

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Provenance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on provenance

Nglish: Translation of provenance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of provenance for Arabic Speakers


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