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verb (used with object), pro·vid·ed, pro·vid·ing.
  1. to make available; furnish: to provide employees with various benefits.
  2. to supply or equip: to provide the army with new fighter planes.
  3. to afford or yield.
  4. Law. to arrange for or stipulate beforehand, as by a provision or proviso.
  5. Archaic. to prepare or procure beforehand.
verb (used without object), pro·vid·ed, pro·vid·ing.
  1. to take measures with due foresight (usually followed by for or against).
  2. to make arrangements for supplying means of support, money, etc. (usually followed by for): He provided for his children in his will.
  3. to supply means of support (often followed by for): to provide for oneself.

Origin of provide

1375–1425; late Middle English providen < Latin prōvidēre to foresee, look after, provide for, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + vidēre to see
Related formspro·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

Synonyms for provide

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of provide

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British Dictionary definitions for provide


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to put at the disposal of; furnish or supply
  2. to afford; yieldthis meeting provides an opportunity to talk
  3. (intr; often foll by for or against) to take careful precautions (over)he provided against financial ruin by wise investment
  4. (intr foll by for) to supply means of support (to), esp financiallyhe provides for his family
  5. (in statutes, documents, etc) to determine (what is to happen in certain contingencies), esp by including a proviso condition
  6. to confer and induct into ecclesiastical offices
  7. rare to have or get in storein summer many animals provide their winter food
Derived Formsprovider, noun

Word Origin for provide

C15: from Latin prōvidēre to provide for, from prō- beforehand + vidēre to see
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for provide

early 15c., from Latin providere "look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight," from pro- "ahead" (see pro-) + videre "to see" (see vision). Related: Provided; providing. Earlier in same sense was purvey, which is the same word as deformed in Old French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper