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.
How to use provide in a sentence
The dot is part of Apple’s latest iOS software update, and is part of Apple’s ongoing campaign to provide better privacy services.iPhone’s new ‘orange dot’ feature warns you when an app is listening|Jeff|September 17, 2020|Fortune
During the pandemic, he helped create Operation Masks, a nonprofit that has been providing PPE across the US.With Goat Capital, Justin Kan and Robin Chan want to keep founding alongside the right teams|Eric Eldon|September 17, 2020|TechCrunch
The first wave of palm oil plantations, from the 1970s to the 1990s, provided farmers with seven times the income of subsistence-food croppers in the same regions.The Environmental Headache in Your Shampoo - Issue 90: Something Green|Anastasia Bendebury & Michael Shilo DeLay|September 16, 2020|Nautilus
That dividend-plus-repurchases yield provided a solid foundation for future gains, a foundation that’s crumbled since.Will tech stocks stumble or slide? What the fundamentals tell us|Shawn Tully|September 16, 2020|Fortune
The Hillman Accelerator, created by Matthews Brackeen with former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones in 2017, invests $100,000 and provides mentorship to female- and minority-owned Midwest startups.Cincinnati’s Secret Sauce to Help Minority Businesses Succeed|Nick Fouriezos|September 15, 2020|Ozy
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
Law-enforcement agencies at all levels of government provide a valuable and often thankless public service in their communities.
Can we provide better services to millions more Americans while actually saving billions of dollars?
On this account, great care should be taken to provide well-drained positions.How to Know the Ferns|S. Leonard Bastin
The Indians should have a suitable church of their own, and Serrano recommends that the king provide one for them.
The Professor thought very kindly of the dead cousin, whose money would provide for this great work.Uncanny Tales|Various
Regular taxation, monopolies, mortgages, and loans barely sufficed to provide for the budget.Napoleon's Marshals|R. P. Dunn-Pattison
It is probable he wished to provide written proof of a plea that he was an unwilling agent in the clutch of a mutinous army.The Red Year|Louis Tracy