1 of 2


pro·​vi·​sion·​al prə-ˈvizh-nəl How to pronounce provisional (audio)
: serving for the time being : temporary
a provisional government
provisionally adverb


2 of 2


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

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
If your period tends to be irregular, pack provisional hygiene products to soothe anxieties and avoid panics about potential early menstruation. Olivia Morelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Sep. 2023 One of the requests echoed a demand made by some immigration advocates: The government should treat a work permit application as a provisional authorization. Mike Damiano,, 8 Sep. 2023 The videos featured the artist manipulating bits of collage into place, although everything is provisional, nothing permanently fixed. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep. 2023 He was commissioned as a provisional elder in June 2012 by the Alabama-West Florida conference. Greg Garrison | , al, 8 Sep. 2023 Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its provisional estimates for suicide deaths in the country last year and found that suicide deaths increased for a second year in a row to an estimated 49,449 deaths. Kelly Livingston, ABC News, 8 Sep. 2023 The companies listed all appeared on a provisional list released in early July, and mostly consist of American tech giants. Jon Porter, The Verge, 6 Sep. 2023 Cars are more expensive, insurance rates have skyrocketed, and the onerous permit and provisional licensing process that requires hours of parental supervision made a license much harder to get than those 15 minutes with a pencil test and drive around the block. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2023 Germany only just emerged from a recession in the April-to-June period as gross domestic product (GDP) was flat compared with the previous quarter, but the latest provisional data suggests the slight improvement in the economy’s fortunes may not last. Olesya Dmitracova, CNN, 7 Aug. 2023
The 2022 turnout rate will rise only slightly with an official canvass, which will include all valid provisional and absentee ballots that were postmarked by the day before the election and received by the statutory deadline. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, 10 Nov. 2022 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'provisional.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1601, in the meaning defined above


1886, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of provisional was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near provisional

Cite this Entry

“Provisional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: serving for the time being
a provisional government
provisional arrangements

Legal Definition


pro·​vi·​sion·​al prə-ˈvi-zhə-nəl How to pronounce provisional (audio)
: 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
: 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
provisionally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on provisional

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!