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provide definition


This page has 13 definitions of provide with English translations in 4 languages. Provide is a verb, an adverb and noun. Examples of how to use provide in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English provide definition


Inherited from Middle English providen, from Latin prōvidēre (to foresee, act with foresight). Doublet of purvey.



provide (third-person singular simple present provides, present participle providing, simple past and past participle provided)

  1. To make a living; earn money for necessities.
    It is difficult to provide for my family working on minimum wage.
  2. To act to prepare for something.
    provide against disaster.
  3. To establish as a previous condition; to stipulate.
    The contract provides that the work be well done.
    I'll lend you the money, provided that you pay it back by Monday.
  4. To give what is needed or desired, especially basic needs.
    Don't bother bringing equipment, as we will provide it.
    We aim to provide the local community with more green spaces.
    • 2006, Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Penguin Press, →ISBN, page 320:
      Humans provided the animals with food and protection in exchange for which the animals provided the humans their milk, eggs, and—yes—their flesh.
  5. To furnish (with), cause to be present.
    • 1727, John Arbuthnot, Tables of Ancient Coins, Weights and Measures. Explain'd and exemplify'd in several dissertations:
      Rome [] was generally well provided with corn.
  6. To make possible or attainable.
    He provides us with an alternative option.
  7. (obsolete, Latinism) To foresee, to consider in advance.
    • 1603 (first performance; published 1605), Benjamin Jonson [i.e., Ben Jonson], “Seianus his Fall. A Tragœdie. []”, in The Workes of Ben Jonson (First Folio), London: [] Will[iam] Stansby, published 1616, OCLC 960101342:
      , Act 5, Scene 10, in Gifford’s 1816 edition volume III page 144
      We have not been covetous, honourable fathers, to change, neither is it now any new lust that alters our affection, or old lothing, but those needful jealousies of state, that warn wiser princes hourly to provide their safety, and do teach them how learned a thing it is to beware of the humblest enemy; much more of those great ones, whom their own employed favours have made fit for their fears.
    • 1606, Ben Jonson, Volpone, Dedication, in Gifford’s 1816 edition volume III page 164:
      As for those that will (by faults which charity hath raked up, or common honesty concealed) make themselves a name with the multitude, or, to draw their rude and beastly claps, care not whose living faces they intrench with their petulant styles, may they do it without a rival, for me! I choose rather to live graved in obscurity, than share with them in so preposterous a fame. Nor can I blame the wishes of those severe and wise patriots, who providing the hurts these licentious spirits may do in a state, desire rather to see fools and devils, and those antique relics of barbarism retrieved, with all other ridiculous and exploded follies, than behold the wounds of private men, of princes and nations
  8. To appoint to an ecclesiastical benefice before it is vacant. See provisor.

Usage notes

As seen in the examples, when not used with that for previous conditions, provide is used with the prepositions for (beneficiary; also without preposition, usual for pronouns) and with (object).

Derived terms

Related terms



Galician provide definition

Alternative forms



  1. second-person plural imperative of provir

Italian provide definition



  1. third-person singular past historic of provedere


Latin provide definition


From prōvidus (prophetic, prudent, cautious) +‎ , from prōvideō (foresee, be cautious).



prōvidē (comparative prōvidius, superlative prōvidissimē)

  1. carefully, prudently



  1. second-person singular present active imperative of prōvideō



  1. singular vocative of prōvidus


  • provide”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • provide in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette