Definition of provenance in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈprävənəns/


1The place of origin or earliest known history of something: an orange rug of Iranian provenance
More example sentences
  • Bemused, she enquired about their provenance - history - only to be told that they had come from St Andrews.
  • The following items include a complete description of each relic, it's historical significance, exhibition history, and provenance.
  • Because the blocks themselves are so glorious the signatures are almost insignificant, until that is, one begins to look at the history or provenance of the quilt.
origin, source, place of origin;
birthplace, fount, roots, pedigree, derivation, root, etymology
formal radix
1.1The beginning of something’s existence; something’s origin: they try to understand the whole universe, its provenance and fate
More example sentences
  • Today's children are blessed with the opportunity to open their minds to the shattering wonder of their own existence, the nature of life and its remarkable provenance in a yet more remarkable universe.
  • In conclusion, some final comments about the provenance of both contrasting theories are appropriate, before extending briefly suggestions for Anglican apologetic today.
  • Each describes the history and provenance of the building in question, tells us at least something of its builders and early owners, and provides copious documentation in the form both of notes and bibliography.
1.2A record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality: the manuscript has a distinguished provenance
More example sentences
  • Looking hack to the 1930s, she wrote in 1954 that she and other dealers and collectors had not been as rigorous as they might have been about recording provenances.
  • False provenances and certificates of authenticity are favorite tools of cheats and should never be accepted blindly.
  • When I was a student of art history, I spent my days doggedly tracking down art objects, provenances and sources, historical and contemporary influences, stylistic affinities and social contexts, readings and interpretations.


Late 18th century: from French, from the verb provenir 'come or stem from', from Latin provenire, from pro- 'forth' + venire 'come'.

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Syllabification: prov·e·nance

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