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

economy, frugality, husbandry, parsimony, penny-pinching, scrimping, skimping, thrift

Antonyms: Noun

diseconomy, wastefulness

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Examples of providence in a Sentence


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

In the Caribbean by providence impoverished In squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar? Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Got questions about 'Hamilton'? We break down the first song of the musical," 4 June 2019 Coastal views, endless horizons, and days of island hopping await in this adventure-ready Canadian providence., "Islands up north? In New Brunswick, there’s plenty to explore," 23 Apr. 2018 The idea that the Trump presidency is rendered legitimate by God’s providence is a sustained part of Trump’s wider political strategy. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Scott Pruitt’s parting words to Trump: you are president “because of God’s providence”," 6 July 2018 By the end of the play, divine providence is much harder to discern. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 2018 But as the saying has it, God has a special providence for fools, drunkards and the United States of America. Mike Kerrigan, WSJ, "Summer Jobs Teach Real-World Lessons," 31 May 2018 Subby was the son of the late Pasquale and Carmela (Indomenico) Santiglia, who hailed from Floridia, providence of Siracusa, Italy and came through Ellis Island at the turn of the century., "Sebastian Anthony Santiglia," 31 May 2018 And the people of our Commonwealth generally feel that the present condition of the colored race in this country accords both with the Word and the providence of God. Nancy D. Wadsworth, Vox, "The racial demons that help explain evangelical support for Trump," 30 Apr. 2018 In Puritan churches, ministers used to cite, as an example of God’s providence, the fact that thousands of Native Americans died of smallpox. Rachael Combe, The Cut, "The Moment I Decided to Throw Out My Son’s Toy Weapons," 8 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for providence

Last Updated

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for providence

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

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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

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Comments on providence

What made you want to look up providence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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