We published our consultation paper on 27 October 2010, setting out our provisional proposals for comprehensive reform of the law on unfitness to plead in England and Wales. We received over 50 responses and, on 10 April 2013, we published an analysis of those responses.

I know that provisional could mean many meanings (temporary - conditional - limited , etc)

Could provisional mean a stock since the word provide has this meaning ? so the sentence speaks about a stock of proposals.

or could it mean current ? a current proposal is better I think.

The problem is that I do not find any dictionary gives these meanings.

Edit: to think of provisional as temporary is somewhat difficult because I find it strange that an institution gives temporary proposals to reform the law (why the institution make all these efforts to make just a temporary proposals?)... but yes sometimes it may do. The other thing is the word provide and its relation to provisional So in my mind I wondered if provisional could mean a stock, and came the idea that the institution might have given a stock of proposals.

  • The only meaning given in the first four dictionaries I consulted is the first you suggest: "temporary, subject to future alteration". What about that meaning is puzzling? Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:06
  • @StoneyB - I made an edit to answer your question. Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:29
  • 2
    It's standard in the US, and apparently the UK: an agency publishes tentative proposals for a new law or regulation and invites public comment and suggestions for revision before moving ahead to a final version to be laid before legislators. Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


The adjective "provisional" is synonymous with "temporary" or "tentative" and it means:

existing or accepted for the present time but likely to be changed.

If a proposal has not been completed and is likely to be changed after getting responses from various interested parties, you make a provisional proposal. And after all items are fixed, you make a "definite" or "final" proposal.

  • @GamalThomas My pleasure. This link could be helpful in understanding the etymology of the word "provision" etymonline.com/index.php?term=provision&allowed_in_frame=0
    – user24743
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:34
  • the etymology of the word "provision" did not say temporary but all goes to supply a food or providing beforehand,foresight, preparation, prevention. that makes me wonder.:) Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:39
  • @GamalThomas When you do something with care, precaution or foresight, preparation, it means you are not making a hasty conclusion. When you make a proposal with care or precaution, it means it could take more time to make it final. The meanings are related.
    – user24743
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:43
  • maybe yes, but I found this etymology for provisional (not provision). it seems they are two different words. yet maybe they are related as you said as well. etymonline.com/… Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:47
  • @GamalThomas When you learn a word, it is better to find more examples on how it is used. There are millions of examples where provisional means temporary. Don't rely too much on a dictionary.
    – user24743
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 15:51

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