late 14c., "a providing beforehand, action of arranging in advance" (originally in reference to ecclesiastical appointments made before the position was vacant), from Old French provision "precaution, care" (early 14c.), from Latin provisionem (nominative provisio) "a foreseeing, foresight, preparation, prevention," noun of action from past participle stem of providere "look ahead" (see provide). Meaning "something provided" is attested from late 15c.; specific sense of "supply of food" is from c.1600.
"to supply with provisions," 1787, from provision (n.). Related: Provisioned; provisioning.