Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Place of origin; derivation.
  • noun The history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated. Used of artworks, antiques, and books.
  • noun The records or documents authenticating such an object or the history of its ownership.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Origin; source or quarter from which anything comes; provenience: especially in the sense of ‘place of manufacture, production, or discovery.’

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Origin; source; provenience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Place or source of origin.
  • noun archaeology The place and time of origin of some artifact or other object. See Usage note below.
  • noun art The history of ownership of a work of art
  • noun 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)
  • noun computing The execution history of computer processes which were utilized to compute a final piece of data (process provenance)
  • noun of a person Background; history; place of origin; ancestry.

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

  • noun where something originated or was nurtured in its early existence

Etymologies

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

[French, from provenant, present participle of provenir, to originate, from Old French, from Latin prōvenīre : prō-, forth; see pro– + venīre, to come; see gwā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

Examples

  • Though over 12,000 1873-CC dimes with no arrows were minted, most were apparently destroyed after passage of the Act. Some scholars speculate that the lone survivor was retrieved from a 1874 Assay Commission meeting by Mint Superintendent Archibald Loudon Snowden; the coin provenance has been traced from Snowden to famed collector Louis Eliasberg, Sr. (sold from that collection in the late 1990s).

    Liberty Seated Dime, Obverse Legend, 1860-1891 : Coin Guide

  • The Brady provenance is being seriously challenged, especially in this article by Kate Marcus.

    Archive 2010-06-01

  • Now his cellar is deep enough to have plenty of old vintage of white Burgundy and white Bordeaux to draw upon to hedge his exposure to premox, and I am sure that despite his Herculean efforts to ascertain provenance on the old wines he has purchased over the last decade, it is highly unlikely that he has not had to deal with more than his fair share of expensive fakes in his cellar.

    Natural wines, premox, chenin blanc, 07 Port and Rhone – John Gilman | Dr Vino's wine blog

  • The simplest way to verify provenance is by looking for items that come with a Certificate of Authenticity or a Letter of Authenticity (often abbreviated to COA and LOA).

    Movie Prop | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • The Brady provenance is being seriously challenged, especially in this article by Kate Marcus.

    John

  • Leading the fleet of more than 20 antique boats from premier German manufacturers is an exquisite circa-1909 hand-painted Marklin "Priscilla" steamboat, 19 inches long, with provenance from the collection of the late Bill Bertoia.

    Reyne Haines: Reyne Gauge: Toys for the Holidays for Grownups!

  • The Turks and the British shared an anal-retentive streak in Empire management and the historical provenance is unanswerable.

    Matthew Yglesias » Gaza and Just War

  • – All will come with a letter of provenance from the publisher

    Subterranean Press » 2007 » March

  • Some scholars speculate that the lone survivor was retrieved from a 1874 Assay Commission meeting by Mint Superintendent Archibald Loudon Snowden; the coin provenance has been traced from Snowden to famed collector Louis Eliasberg, Sr. sold from that collection in the late 1990s.

    Liberty Seated Dime, Obverse Legend, 1860-1891 : Coin Guide

  • This version, however, has nothing to do with breading, deep frying or that ubiquitous nuclear-yellow gloppy sauce whose provenance is unknown, and everything to do with sunshine and bold but light flavors.

    Tigers & Strawberries » The Reason for the Season

Comments

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  • In rare/antique books, evidence of the history of the book's ownership. Evidence might include auction records, booksellers' receipts, book plates, and so on. Provenance may establish the importance of a certain copy because of its ownership (for example, if a president, statesman, famous author, or other prominent person owned it); it's also essential in establishing ownership/history of especially rare items.

    February 22, 2007

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