pro·​vi·​sion·​al | \ prə-ˈvizh-nəl How to pronounce provisional (audio) , -ˈvi-zhə-nᵊl \

Definition of provisional

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: serving for the time being : temporary a provisional government



Definition of provisional (Entry 2 of 2)

: a postage stamp for use until a regular issue appears — compare definitive

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Other Words from provisional


provisionally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for provisional

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of provisional in a Sentence

Adjective The government has given provisional approval for the use of the new drug. will form a provisional government until a new leader can be elected
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Japanese officials had also issued a provisional warrant for Zayek's arrest. Michael Balsamo, Anchorage Daily News, "Former Green Beret and son charged by US with smuggling ex-Nissan boss out of Japan," 20 May 2020 Both sides have accused the other of breaching a provisional cease-fire agreed in January. Salma El Wardany,, "Oil Crisis in Libya Takes Center Stage at Latest UN Talks," 19 May 2020 Late Thursday, the government granted her a provisional stay to argue their immigration appeal. Lomi Kriel, ProPublica, "The Trump Administration Is Rushing Deportations of Migrant Children During Coronavirus," 18 May 2020 The board has already had to make provisional arrangements for giving the exam in September. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Minnesota law grads petition Supreme Court to be allowed to practice in Wisconsin without taking bar exam," 16 May 2020 New York’s reputation for being tough and unsentimental is well-earned; connections between people are tenuous, provisional. George Blecher, New York Times, "I Left My Troubled City Behind. Now I Feel Guilty.," 16 May 2020 The Pre Classic is one of 11 meets on a new, provisional Diamond League schedule that is slated to begin Aug. 14 and conclude in China on Oct. 17 at a place to be determined. oregonlive, "The Prefontaine Classic track meet has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4," 12 May 2020 Along with provisional votes, that means the results of some close contests might change when the final vote totals are certified next month. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Some tightly fought Ohio legislative races remain close in unofficial count," 29 Apr. 2020 After being closed for several weeks, Patachou has rolled out new carryout options such as family-style dinners comprised of popular items from the Petite Chou Bistro menu, as well as provisional items such as coffee and granola from Cafe Patachou. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "What restaurant service could look like as Indiana reopens after coronavirus restrictions," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Correll read the official election results, which have been certified following Election Day Nov. 5 and the Nov. 7 canvass of absentee and provisional ballots; 1,782 ballots were cast, including 10 absentee and 12 provisionals. David Anderson,, "Re-elected Aberdeen Mayor McGrady ready to ‘rock and roll into the future’ with new, returning City Council members," 13 Nov. 2019 His provisional sailed left, too, into the deep rough. Los Angeles Times, "J.B. Holmes takes British Open lead with Brooks Koepka lurking," 18 July 2019 Election Day in this year’s statewide Democratic and Republican primary election was June 26, followed by an absentee ballot canvass June 28, a provisional ballot canvass Thursday and the final count of absentee and provisionals Friday. David Anderson, The Aegis, "McComas, Wagner win tight Harford primary races after final ballot canvass," 6 July 2018 The Board of Elections, sitting as the Board of Canvassers, accepted 313, including 274 absentees and 39 provisionals. David Anderson, The Aegis, "McComas, Wagner win tight Harford primary races after final ballot canvass," 6 July 2018 There’s going to be a paper recount of all the votes from early voting, election day, absentees and provisionals. Pamela Wood,, "Brochin asks for full manual recount in Democratic primary for Baltimore County executive," 10 July 2018 McComas picked up five more votes in the Republican race for District 34B, while Tilley earned six provisionals. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Leaders in 2018 Harford races remain there after provisional ballot canvass Thurs.," 5 July 2018 Welcomed were 2018 spring provisionals Jennifer Bankston, Maggie Bopp, Megan Butler, Lauren Duncan, Jillian Gutierrez, Misty Jenkins, Danielle Looper and Amanda Toombs-Couvillon. Elizabeth Moore,, "North Shore Notables: Junior League of Covington honors members, introduces new board," 27 May 2018 Concordia's list of NCAA Division II provisional qualifiers grows. Ken Goe,, "Might the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials return to Hayward Field after all? Oregon track & field rundown," 9 Apr. 2018

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


1601, in the meaning defined above


1886, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for provisional

Time Traveler

The first known use of provisional was in 1601

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Statistics for provisional

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Provisional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for provisional


How to pronounce provisional (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of provisional

: existing or accepted for the present time but likely to be changed


pro·​vi·​sion·​al | \ prə-ˈvi-zhə-nəl How to pronounce provisional (audio) \

Legal Definition of provisional

1 : provided for a temporary need : suitable or acceptable in the existing situation but subject to change or nullification a provisional government provisional custody of a minor
2 : of, relating to, or being temporary judicial acts or proceedings (as of attachment, injunction, or sequestration) allowed before final judgment to protect the interests of one or more parties to an action a provisional remedy

Other Words from provisional

provisionally adverb

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