[ pruh-vahyd ]
/ pr蓹藞va瑟d /
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See synonyms for: provide / provided / provides / providing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), pro路vid路ed, pro路vid路ing.
verb (used without object), pro路vid路ed, pro路vid路ing.
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Origin of provide

1375鈥1425; late Middle English providen<Latin pr艒vid膿re to foresee, look after, provide for, equivalent to pr艒-pro-1 + vid膿re to see


pro路vid路a路ble, adjectiveo路ver路pro路vide, verb (used with object), o路ver路pro路vid路ed, o路ver路pro路vid路ing.pre路pro路vide, verb (used with object), pre路pro路vid路ed, pre路pro路vid路ing.un路pro路vid路a路ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


Where does聽provide come from?

For many, the word provide might conjure up tangible objects you can hand over, like food, supplies, goods, or money. Provide may also bring to mind less concrete things that can nevertheless be given or furnished, such as answers or solutions or responses. So, it might surprise you to learn that the root of provide isn鈥檛 about the sense of touch鈥攂ut vision.

Provide entered English around 1375鈥1425. It comes from the Latin pr艒vid膿re, meaning 鈥渢o foresee, look after, provide for.鈥 The underlying idea of this verb is seeing something at a distance or beforehand, and when you can see something coming, you can make arrangements and prepare supplies for it. We call such arrangements and supplies provisions, a word that is also derived from pr艒vid膿re.

The Latin pr艒vid膿re is composed of two parts. The first part is pr艒-, a widely used prefix based on the preposition pr艒, meaning 鈥渂efore, in front of.鈥 The second part is vid膿re, meaning 鈥渢o see, look at.鈥

Pr艒- appears in many words English borrowed from Latin, such as these verbs:

The verb vid膿re is the ultimate source of a lot of English words, many of which entered English through French. Some more familiar derivatives include view, video, vision, visual, visit, and vista. Other derivatives are less obvious and even surprising:

Did you know ... ?

The word provide, etymologically speaking, is all about seeing鈥攁nd as a result, planning for鈥攖hings ahead of time. Another word for this quality is foresight. And a synonym for foresight is yet another word that comes from the Latin pr艒vid膿re: providence.

When you are careful about providing for the future, you are prudent. Want to provide a guess as to the root of the word prudent? Yes, it also ultimately derives from pr艒vid膿re.

Discover more about providence and prudent at our entries for those words.

How to use provide in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for provide

/ (pr蓹藞va瑟d) /

verb (mainly tr)

Derived forms of provide

provider, noun

Word Origin for provide

C15: from Latin pr艒vid膿re to provide for, from pr艒- beforehand + vid膿re to see
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012