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 The voters put on hold actually could vote with a regular (not provisional) ballot at the polls by simply showing their ID, just like any other Georgian. Brad Raffensperger, National Review, 11 Oct. 2021 Data for 2017 to 2020 are provisional and subject to change during the National Park Service’s quality check process. Matthias Gafni, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Oct. 2021 The International Ice Hockey Federation announced Friday that Seider, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl and Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer were named to the provisional roster. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 8 Oct. 2021 His battalion — made up mostly of active duty military police and reservists who were civilian law enforcement officers — acted as a provisional military police battalion in the Al Anbar Province. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Oct. 2021 If nothing else, The 9.9 Percent is a bracing glimpse of life on the other side of the blindfolds—together with a provisional blueprint for reform once our powers of sight are fully restored. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 30 Sep. 2021 In November 2019, The Gambia submitted a request to the ICJ for provisional measures of protection. Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes, 23 Sep. 2021 The migrants, many of whom have refugee or provisional status in Mexico, went largely unmolested by Mexican authorities even as their numbers swelled in this border city of about 124,000 people. Lauren Villagran, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2021 We weren't welcomed initially, because the police were regarded with a lot of suspicion and people in that area weren't sympathetic to a provisional army. Joey Nolfi,, 17 Sep. 2021 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

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

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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

18 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Provisional.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for provisional



English Language Learners Definition of provisional

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


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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