Province vs provenance

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Province and provenance are two words that are very close in spelling, but have very different meanings. They are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words province and provenance, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A province is a section of a country that has its own means of governmental administration. Province may also mean a person’s area of expertise or responsibility. The word province is derived from the Latin word provincia, which means conquered territory or territory outside Italy under Roman administration.

Provenance means the origin of something or the earliest known history of something. Provenance may also mean a record of the chain of ownership of an antiquity or a work of art, in order to establish authenticity. Substantiated provenance almost always increases the value of an object. The word provenance is derived from the Latin word provenire, which means to arise or originate.


The province brought in the levy to reduce demand in Metro Vancouver’s skyrocketing real estate market, which was “causing increasing imbalance between the incomes of those who live and work in the region and the cost of residential property,” according to the government’s response. (The Globe and Mail)

Two letters will soon be sent to the province: one by Cavan Monaghan Township requesting Peterborough continue the annexation process on its own, and another by the city requesting a forced annexation of township land. (Kawartha Media Group)

It also appears at odds with Germany’s announcement last month that it has created a $4.7 million national fund to subsidize provenance research (the chronology of ownership) into privately owned artwork suspected of being looted by the Nazis. (The New York Jewish Weekly)

Christie’s to auction the Rockefeller emerald: a potentially record-breaking stone with a prestigious provenance (The Telegraph)