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[pruh-vin-shuh-liz-uh m] /prəˈvɪn ʃəˌlɪz əm/
narrowness of mind, ignorance, or the like, considered as resulting from lack of exposure to cultural or intellectual activity.
a trait, habit of thought, etc., characteristic of a provincial, a province, or the provinces.
a word, expression, or mode of pronunciation peculiar to a province.
devotion to one's own province before the nation as a whole.
Origin of provincialism
1760-70; provincial + -ism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for provincialism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Taken all in all, Berlin has not yet shaken off its provincialism, and is far behind Vienna in drainage, water-supply and paving.

  • We could not give her over to a lumberman, doubly accursed by wealth and provincialism.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • What, then, of the "provincialism" of the American province of the empire of British literature?

    Modern Essays John Macy
  • This provincialism is correct for Lancashire, and as far as I know for Cumberland.

    Out in the Forty-Five Emily Sarah Holt
  • The King had been hard to insense (cause to understand: still a Northern provincialism) at the first.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • The provincialism with which I had cursed his people extended to himself.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • I didn't know there were so many kinds of people and so many sorts of provincialism in the world.

    A Little Journey in the World Charles Dudley Warner
  • Its disease might seem to have been an aggravated form of provincialism.

    Instigations Ezra Pound
British Dictionary definitions for provincialism


narrowness of mind or outlook; lack of sophistication
a word or attitude characteristic of a provincial
attention to the affairs of one's province rather than the whole nation
the state or quality of being provincial
Also localism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for provincialism

1820 in the political sense, "local attachment as opposed to national unity," from provincial + -ism. Meaning "manners or modes of a certain province or of provinces generally" (as opposed to the big city or capital) is from 1836. Sense of "a local word or usage or expression" is from 1770.

PROVINCIALISM consists in:
(a) An ignorance of the manners, customs and nature of people living outside one's own village, parish, or nation.
(b) A desire to coerce others into uniformity.
[Ezra Pound, "Provincialism the Enemy," 1917]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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