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Borrowed from French provenance (origin), from Middle French provenant, present participle of provenir (come forth, arise), from Latin provenio (to come forth).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɒ.və.nəns/, /ˈpɹɒ.və.ˌnɒns/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɑ.və.nəns/


English Wikipedia has an article on:

provenance (countable and uncountable, plural provenances)

  1. Place or source of origin.
    Many supermarkets display the provenance of their food products.
    • 2015, James Lambert, “Lexicography as a teaching tool: A Hong Kong case study”, in Lan Li, Jamie McKeown and Liming Liu, editors, Dictionaries and corpora: Innovations in reference science. Proceedings of ASIALEX 2015 Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, page 147:
      Within this melee of intersections between English and Cantonese, the students, being themselves bilingually fluent, were able to navigate with perfect ease in communicative contexts where the provenance of a certain term or expression matters little.
  2. (archaeology) The place and time of origin of some artifact or other object. See Usage note below.
    This spear is of Viking provenance.
  3. (art) The history of ownership of a work of art
    The picture is of royal provenance.
  4. (computing) The copy history of a piece of data, or the intermediate pieces of data utilized to compute a final data element, as in a database record or web site (data provenance)
  5. (computing) The execution history of computer processes which were utilized to compute a final piece of data (process provenance)
  6. (of a person) Background; history; place of origin
    Synonym: ancestry

Usage notes[edit]

  • The term provenience in archaeology has largely replaced provenance because provenience is restricted to in situ location at the date of archaeological discovery rather than the "origin-to-present" chain of custody details of proper provenance as is customarily used by historians, museums, and commercial entities.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


provenance (third-person singular simple present provenances, present participle provenancing, simple past and past participle provenanced)

  1. To establish the provenance of something





provenance f (plural provenances)

  1. provenance, origin
    La violence continue en provenance de Homs, l'épicentre de contestation.
    Violence continues in Homs, the epicentre of the protests.

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]