Definition of provisional in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈviZHənl/


1Arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed later: a provisional government a provisional construction permit
More example sentences
  • Preliminary and provisional findings are presented, sometimes before peer review and without appropriate caveats, as proof of links between lethal diseases and familiar products or activities.
  • While my research into these matters is not yet complete, I would like to present my provisional conclusions.
  • Workers established dual power, whereby there were workers' councils on the one hand and a provisional government using the existing state institutions on the other.
interim, temporary, pro tem;
transitional, changeover, stopgap, short-term, fill-in, acting, caretaker, subject to confirmation;
penciled in, working, tentative, contingent
1.1(Of a postage stamp) put into circulation temporarily, usually owing to the unavailability of the definitive issue.
Example sentences
  • Some of the most coveted United States postage stamps are the crude provisional stamps used by early postmasters from 1845 to 1846 before the Stamp Act was legislated.
  • Provisional stamps are usually made by overprinting, surcharging and occasionally by bisecting pre-existing stamps.
2 (Provisional) [attributive] Relating to the unofficial wings of the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein established in 1969 and advocating terrorism.
Example sentences
  • Even though the shooting took place in the staunchly republican west Belfast, security sources immediately ruled out any Provisional IRA involvement.
  • Claimed to be a blow at ‘the colonial economic structure’ and the British ruling class, this Provisional bomb killed six people, most of them members of the crew of a bin-lorry.
  • The Official IRA declared a ceasefire in the summer of 1972, and subsequently the term IRA has been used for the organisation that had developed from the 'Provisional' IRA.


1A provisional postage stamp.
Example sentences
  • The New Orleans 5c Provisionals are the most common of the CSA provisional stamps and the ones most likely to be acquired by the average collector.
  • Dr. Maffeo was able to assemble a remarkable number of rare Postmaster's Provisionals, both United States and Confederate as well as two Inverted Jennys.
2 (Provisional) A member of the Provisional wings of the Irish Republican Army or Sinn Fein.
Example sentences
  • Separately, Special Branch detectives said this weekend that Garda surveillance had resumed on alleged members of the Provisionals in Dublin, including people associated with Sinn Féin.
  • The Officials were pulled into violence in the north, though were consistently less aggressive than the Provisionals.
  • The Provisionals were not ‘terrorists’, in that they were predominantly waging a campaign focused on British occupation forces.



Pronunciation: /prəˌviZHəˈnalətē/
Example sentences
  • In everything they said, there was this air of acceptance, and tentatively, experimentation rather than celebration, of a resolve towards provisionality rather than finality.
  • Postmodernism, in contrast, doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation, provisionality, or incoherence, but rather celebrates that.
  • Hugo saw everything he wrote as an experiment, and was, more than any other great poet of his century, aware of the provisionality of every position, every thought, every work of art.

Words that rhyme with provisional

divisional, visional

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·vi·sion·al

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