pro·​vi·​so | \ prə-ˈvī-(ˌ)zō How to pronounce proviso (audio) \
plural provisos also provisoes

Definition of proviso

1 : an article or clause (as in a contract) that introduces a condition
2 : a conditional stipulation

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Examples of proviso in a Sentence

He accepted the job with one proviso: he would work alone. released the drunken revelers with the proviso that they behave for the remainder of the Mardi Gras
Recent Examples on the Web Elgin Police Department’s contract with School District U-46 to provide police officers in schools will be extended one year with the proviso that police officials look for ways to address the inequity in Black student arrests and citations. Gloria Casas,, "Elgin council agrees to extend school police officer program for a year, but wants inequity addressed," 29 Oct. 2020 In general, states should be given broad authority to reform their private individual markets, with one important proviso: Conditions must get better for people who have health problems. Marie Fishpaw, National Review, "What Trump Has Done to Change the Health Care System and How That Has Helped Battle COVID-19," 18 Oct. 2020 The group, which included Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, also asked that the party reaffirm support for the Hyde Amendment, a legislative proviso that bars federal funding for most abortions. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Abortion all but absent at Democratic convention," 19 Aug. 2020 That proviso defers all the hard questions for several years of negotiations — with their inevitable breakdowns and crises. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "A Deal That Has Two Elections, Rather Than Mideast Peace, as Its Focus," 28 Jan. 2020 In fact, this latter proviso should be their ultimate purpose. Klaus Schwab, Time, "What Kind of Capitalism Do We Want?," 2 Dec. 2019 Even so, the promise of those violins turns out to come with lots of provisos. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In the Musical ‘Soft Power,’ China Whistles the Tune," 15 Oct. 2019 One major proviso: The British government must make more compromises to seal an agreement in the coming hours. Raf Casert,, "European Union officials say a Brexit deal might be in sight within hours, but U.K. must make more compromises," 15 Oct. 2019 The definition of that proviso could have been stretched to meet all practical requirements (33 years later, the Star Wars technology is nowhere near useful deployment). The Economist, "Reagan and Gorbachev’s tantalising nuclear talks in Reykjavik," 15 Aug. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for proviso

Middle English, from Medieval Latin proviso quod provided that

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Time Traveler for proviso

Time Traveler

The first known use of proviso was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Proviso.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for proviso


How to pronounce proviso (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proviso

: a condition that must be accepted in order for someone to agree to do something


pro·​vi·​so | \ prə-ˈvī-zō How to pronounce proviso (audio) \
plural provisos or provisoes

Legal Definition of proviso

1 : an article or clause (as in a statute or contract) that introduces a condition
2 : a conditional stipulation

History and Etymology for proviso

Medieval Latin proviso quod provided that

More from Merriam-Webster on proviso

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for proviso

Nglish: Translation of proviso for Spanish Speakers

Comments on proviso

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