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

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 The deadliest drug epidemic in the nation's history is only intensifying, with overdose deaths topping 107,000 last year, 15% more than the year before, according to provisional data released by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, 30 July 2022 The flood levels in Whitesburg, Kentucky surpassed a previous record set in 1957 by over 5 feet, according to provisional automatic data from the United States Geological Survey. Judson Jones, CNN, 29 July 2022 That rate of increase dropped to 15 percent in 2021, according to provisional data released by the CDC in May. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 July 2022 Nationally, in 2021, more than 107,600 people, a record high, died of drug overdoses, according to provisional data from the CDC. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, 21 July 2022 The same year in the United States, there were 20,957 people whose cause of death was homicide by firearm, according to provisional mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post, 21 July 2022 For the report, the authors looked at birth certificate data from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, including final birth counts from 2019 and 2020, as well as provisional data for 2021. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 18 July 2022 More than 107,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2021, with 75 percent of those deaths due to synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 June 2022 Established two years earlier by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus amounted to a total rethinking of art and design under Germany’s provisional government, the Weimar Republic, which formed in the wake of World War I. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Instead, the board of elections will determine which outstanding provisional and absentee ballots are valid at the Sept. 27 board meeting, Perlatti said. cleveland, 13 Sep. 2021 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,, 13 Nov. 2019 His provisional sailed left, too, into the deep rough. Los Angeles Times, 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, 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, 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,, 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, 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,, 27 May 2018 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near provisional

provision account


provisional licence

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Statistics for provisional

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Provisional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for provisional


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

More from Merriam-Webster on provisional

Nglish: Translation of provisional for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of provisional for Arabic Speakers


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