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

Vaping-product manufacturers have sought to distinguish their goods from counterfeits acquired on the street and to blame the latter, but investigators have not yet confirmed the provenance of many of the products involved in the disease. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Hunt for Cause of Vaping Illness Suggests Multiple Mechanisms of Damage," 17 Sep. 2019 The provenance of the recording is not known, though its authenticity was not immediately questioned. Washington Post, "Baghdadi urges followers to continue attacks, storm prisons in purported new recording," 16 Sep. 2019 Maron plays Mel, a small-town pawn shop owner who is drawn into an oddball conspiracy when two women (Jillian Bell and Michaela Watkins) come in with a Civil War-era sword with a very unusual provenance. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: Comedy, charm and conspiracy in ‘Sword of Trust’," 19 July 2019 In practice, that might mean developing capabilities to prove the origin or provenance of data without revealing how it was specifically obtained. Wired, "Hacker Lexicon: What Are Zero-Knowledge Proofs?," 14 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Mr Ivanov’s emphasis on provenance is a response to changing consumer preferences, especially among younger buyers. The Economist, "Alrosa is betting on natural diamonds," 12 Sep. 2019 The blog’s grimly witty name refers to a common provenance identification used to shield questionably sourced antiquities. Los Angeles Times, "Column: A looted Maya sculpture sparks a storm over its planned sale at auction," 11 Sep. 2019 But in 2017, the team ran samples and came back with radiocarbon dates from the ninth century b.c., moving the tower’s provenance by more than a thousand years. Rachel Poser, Harper's magazine, "Common Ground," 19 Aug. 2019 None of the provenances for the Met’s items, as shown on the museum’s website, lists an owner who predates Mr. Kapoor. Tom Mashberg, New York Times, "The Met Reviews Items It Received From a Dealer, Now a Looting Suspect," 18 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for provenance

The first known use of provenance was in 1785

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English Language Learners Definition of provenance

formal : the origin or source of something

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