The Pro-Vision of Provisions

“And we must all bring Provisions.”
“Bring what?”
“Things to eat.”
1

Provision is composed of two Latin words:  pro “ahead” or “forward,” and videre “to see.”2  Thus provision means “to see ahead.”  But this is not the meaning as it is used in modern English.  When one says “provision,” he refers to the food and supplies needed for a journey, not the sense implied by the Latin words, in which case foresight would probably be chosen.3  However, provision and its relatives, provide and providence, do retain an element of the literal foresight in the sense that all these words mean, in a broad sense, “to perceive what will be needed in the future.”  In the case of provision, this need takes the form of food, whereas provide and providence refer to care in general.4  It is interesting to note that humans’ primary concern for the future is the supply of food!

Notes:

1A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, Chapter 8

2This videre element is more apparent in the word provide.

3Foresight comes from the Old English fore “before, in front of,” and sihð “vision, sight.”  Read more here, here, and here.

4See the definitions of provide and providence.

2 thoughts on “The Pro-Vision of Provisions

  1. “It is interesting to note that humans’ primary concern for the future is the supply of food!” Haha! Yes indeed! Perhaps we are more closely related to Hobbits than we like to admit. ;)

    Like

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