prov·​e·​nance ˈpräv-nən(t)s How to pronounce provenance (audio)
: 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 According to prosecutors, Latchford started supplying major auction houses and museums with Cambodian antiquities during the country’s oppressive Khmer Rouge regime—and at times falsified the provenance of items to conceal the fact that they were illicitly obtained. Koh Ewe, TIME, 21 May 2024 Maintaining data provenance and ensuring robust infrastructure is paramount for all AI engineering teams. IEEE Spectrum, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for provenance 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'provenance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of provenance was in 1785

Dictionary Entries Near provenance

Cite this Entry

“Provenance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on provenance

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