pro·​ve·​nience | \ prə-ˈvē-nyən(t)s How to pronounce provenience (audio) , -nē-ən(t)s \

Definition of provenience

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Did You Know?

Did you suspect that "provenience" and "provenance" originate from the same source? You're right; they're parent and child. "Provenance" is the older of the two. It has been used to mean "origin" in English since at least the 1780s, and it is modeled on the French verb provenir, meaning "to come forth, originate." The French word, in turn, derives from Latin provenire, a composite of "pro-" (meaning "forth") and "venire" (meaning "come"). "Provenience" is a chip off the old block, originating as a modification of "provenance" about 100 years after its parent debuted in English texts. The source of the extra syllable in "provenience" is most likely "proveniens," a participle of "provenire" (the similar Latin participle conveniens gave us "convenience," another "venire" derivative).

Examples of provenience in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As my most recent work pulls inspiration from my Italian provenience, so does this album. Kat Bein, Billboard, "David August Trades Chill House for Ambient Vibes on 'DCXXXIX A.C.': Watch," 5 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of provenience

1882, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for provenience

alteration of provenance

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The first known use of provenience was in 1882

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Cite this Entry

“Provenience.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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