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I read a mail in which someone replied to the question "Will he be attending the party?" by saying "Provincially, yes".

Provincial means "of or concerning the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded", but neither the natural nor the pejorative meaning seems to fit here.

What was meant? And is there a name for abusing the language in this way?

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closed as too localized by jwpat7, FumbleFingers, Hellion, Jon Hanna, MετάEd Jan 17 '13 at 19:51

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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I voted to close as too localized: “This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, see the FAQ.” –  jwpat7 Jan 17 '13 at 18:45
    
I've attempted to make the question less localised. Please join in if it can be further improved. –  Andrew Leach Jan 17 '13 at 19:56
    
Since I believe the example can be explained that the person answering the question, "Will he be attending the party?" meant to say "provisionally, yes", there is merit in re-opening this question and allowing the OP to get an answer on what this misuse of words is called. –  Kristina Lopez Jan 17 '13 at 21:43
    
'catachresis' is the literary term for this misuse of words. –  Mitch Jan 18 '13 at 0:48

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's a malapropism and should read Provisionally, "subject to further confirmation, for the time being."

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"Provisionally, 'yes', and provincially, 'aye'". ;) –  Jon Hanna Jan 17 '13 at 18:29
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Or if they were feeling blessed that they were attending, perhaps the intent was providentially. –  bib Jan 17 '13 at 18:43

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