prov·​i·​dence | \ ˈprä-və-dən(t)s How to pronounce providence (audio) , -ˌden(t)s \

Definition of providence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a often capitalized : divine guidance or care
b capitalized : God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny
2 : the quality or state of being provident


geographical name
Prov·​i·​dence | \ ˈprä-və-dən(t)s How to pronounce Providence (audio) , -ˌden(t)s \

Definition of Providence (Entry 2 of 2)

city in northern Rhode Island that is the state capital and a port at the head of the Providence River (a northern arm of Narragansett Bay) population 178,042

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Synonyms & Antonyms for providence

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of providence in a Sentence

Noun practicing its customary providence, the snowbound family was able to make the meager stores last until help arrived had the providence to lay in supplies before the storm hit
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Historically, the filibuster has been providence for segregationists to block civil rights legislation, for Big Business to stymie environmental policy and for the opposition to kill consequential nominations. Philip Elliott, Time, 11 Mar. 2021 Turner, a Georgia native, faced a similar situation during his true freshman season but felt providence was leading him elsewhere to finish out his college career. Evan Dudley, al, 24 Sep. 2020 By chance — or providence, considering this is Robinson’s godly realm — Jack first spots Della during a rainstorm. Washington Post, 21 Sep. 2020 Whether this situation is powered by providence or human design, or both, many kids starting school this week live in a miracle. David Harsanyi, National Review, 3 Sep. 2020 Making sense of the human soul is the providence of faith and art, not science. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2020 When the river ran dry, the colonists prayed for water, according to family lore, and the 1887 Sonora earthquake struck soon after, rupturing an aquifer upriver, as if by providence. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'providence.' 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 providence


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for providence


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin providentia, from provident-, providens

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Time Traveler for providence

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The first known use of providence was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near providence

provide for



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Cite this Entry

“Providence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for providence


prov·​i·​dence | \ ˈprä-və-dəns How to pronounce providence (audio) \

Kids Definition of providence

1 often capitalized : help or care from God or heaven
2 capitalized : God as the guide and protector of all human beings

More from Merriam-Webster on providence

Nglish: Translation of providence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of providence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about providence


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