from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Provided or serving only for the time being. See Synonyms at temporary.
  • adj. Of or relating to any of the extremist factions of the Irish Republican Army established in 1970.
  • n. A person hired temporarily for a job, typically before having taken an examination qualifying the person for permanent employment: fire department provisionals.
  • n. A temporary stamp that is used before the official issue is released.
  • n. A member of a Provisional faction of the Irish Republican Army established in 1970.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. temporary
  • n. a postage stamp issued locally before an official issue is released.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of the nature of a provision; serving as a provision for the time being; -- used of partial or temporary arrangements

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Provided for present need or for the occasion; temporarily established; temporary: as, a provisional regulation; a provisional treaty.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. under terms not final or fully worked out or agreed upon


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • "For a poll worker, a provisional is the easy way out."

    Delays loom in counting ballots

  • And I just visited an outpost, what we call a provisional reconstruction team in Zabul Province, where this fighting is going on.

    CNN Transcript Jun 18, 2006

  • The group's so-called "citizens" and elected "President" Daniel Miller set up what they call their provisional government in a 16,000-square-foot building that once was a hospital.

    December 2003 ~ Angry Bear

  • Science may very well make provisional theories based on limited knowledge, but the whole point of calling it "provisional" is so that we can move on to something else should we find a flaw in the hypothesis.

    Creationism, defined

  • Actually to be not provisional is to be absolute by definition

    A California Ruling

  • Agamben's self-appointed task, always by definition provisional, is to forge another route. close window

    Notes on 'Phonemanography: Romantic to Victorian'

  • Please, someone tell me that isn't possible in provisional voting!!!

    Sound Politics: Mail Ballot Horror Show (XXV): Partisan gamesmanship

  • This year's provisional ballot report is also a big improvement over the fraudulent 2004 report which concealed severe errors in provisional ballot processing.

    Sound Politics: 2006 Election an improvement over 2004, but serious problems remain

  • That the theory should remain in many respects incomplete and provisional, is in the nature of the problem which is perhaps the most difficult which has ever confronted theoretical physics.

    Wilhelm Wien - Nobel Lecture

  • The fact that I haven't really seen this picked up and run with by any other theorist probably says more about the necessity of this conceptualization than any critique I could make, but I was rather taken aback by Anderson's out-of-nowhere faith in mere prefixes as a tool-no matter how "provisional" - for arranging the most crucial terms of a terribly complex

    The Valve


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