verb (used with object), pro·vid·ed, pro·vid·ing.
verb (used without object), pro·vid·ed, pro·vid·ing.
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Origin of provide
OTHER WORDS FROM providepro·vid·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·pro·vide, verb (used with object), o·ver·pro·vid·ed, o·ver·pro·vid·ing.pre·pro·vide, verb (used with object), pre·pro·vid·ed, pre·pro·vid·ing.un·pro·vid·a·ble, adjective
Words nearby provide
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does 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’t about the sense of touch—but vision.
Provide entered English around 1375–1425. It comes from the Latin prōvidēre, meaning “to foresee, look after, provide for.” 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 prōvidēre.
The Latin prōvidēre is composed of two parts. The first part is prō-, a widely used prefix based on the preposition prō, meaning “before, in front of.” The second part is vidēre, meaning “to see, look at.”
Prō- appears in many words English borrowed from Latin, such as these verbs:
The verb vidēre 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—and as a result, planning for—things ahead of time. Another word for this quality is foresight. And a synonym for foresight is yet another word that comes from the Latin prōvidēre: 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 prōvidēre.
Discover more about providence and prudent at our entries for those words.
Example sentences from the Web for provide
Who do you turn to now when you have a decision to make, when you have one less person to provide validation or advice?
Like any service for hire, it is extremely important for the traffickers to provide a reputable service, criminal as it is.
Specifically, the pilots got themselves into a high altitude stall, where the wings lose the capacity to provide lift.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly?|Clive Irving|January 4, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Can we provide better services to millions more Americans while actually saving billions of dollars?
These photographers are respected, indeed, but that is not in and of itself enough to provide insight about the city.
But since the crew was emphatically ordered to leave, a respirator might not provide much safety.The Status Civilization|Robert Sheckley
Provide yourself, sir, with a journeyman; I'm my country's journeyman; henceforward that's MY line of business.'Barnaby Rudge|Charles Dickens
The Company expected the sawmill to provide the planks and suggested a place near the sawmill and ironworks for the shipyard.Some Notes on Shipbuilding and Shipping in Colonial Virginia|Cerinda W. Evans
Harriet, you will have to provide the yell now that you have suggested it.The Meadow-Brook Girls Under Canvas|Janet Aldridge
To prevent casualties, and also to provide more room, two Companies were pushed forward on the 28th to Starfish trench.