The Meaning of Provision: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of provision? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word provision, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word provision mean?

According to the Cambridge Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and many others like American Heritage and Collins English Dictionary, there are many definitions of provision. It can be used as a noun to refer to the act of providing something, supplies of necessary items like food, in law as a legal instrument to refer to something that must happen before something else can happen or be done, as a canonical term for regular induction into a benefice which comprehends nomination, collation, and installation, in finance to refer to a company’s savings that protect against future loss, in ecclesiastical terms to refer to an appointment by the pope to a see or benefice, and as a verb to mean to supply someone with necessities. You might hear this word in the phrase make provision. Provision utilizes the suffix sion. 

Many different languages also contain words that mean provision. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word provision. This is probably because they have a common source. Often words that look, sound, and mean the same thing across languages – called cognates – are formed when two languages or words share a common ancestral language such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word provision is provided by Word Sense

  •  Portuguese: provisão‎ (fem.)
  •  Navajo: bidookįįłii‎
  •  Irish: lón‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Provision‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: zaopatrzenie‎ (neut.)
  •  Russian: снабже́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Maori: ō‎, ōmanapou‎, pōwhiriwhiri (for a journey)‎, kamenga‎ (applies only to food)
  •  Ngazidja Comorian: zawadi‎
  •  Spanish: provisión‎, asistencia
  •  Japanese: 支給‎ (shikyū), 配給‎ (haikyū)
  •  Dutch: provisie‎
  •  French: provision‎ (fem.)
  •  Romanian: provizie‎ (fem.)
  •  Ancient Greek: πόρος‎ (masc.)

You can see that in Spanish, the word provision looks similar to its translation. This is the same way with many Spanish words and English words that are Latin in origin. Look at the following ans see if you can decipher their translations: estipulaciones, disposiciones, en el testamento, familia, estipulación, abastecimiento, asegurar el porvenir, su única hija, del tratado, los ancianos, aseos adecuados, incluyó, debes hacer provisiones para la vejez, provender. 

How can the word provision be used in a sentence?

The word provision can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Below are several examples of provision.

We packed a hearty supply of provisions for our expedition. We hoped that we had enough prudence to provide the quantity for the meeting of needs by the hikers.

At Princeton University, she learned that her business needed to set aside financial provisions to ensure the supplying of means should they go under. She kept a balance sheet of every expense for her entity, and had enough money set aside for any future event or future needs. She would not have to spend her current transactions or credit sales on risking the likely future of the business. Her financial arrangements were top notch. 

The provisions of this law state that the people awaiting murder trials cannot be released if there was criminal intent. Those who were under arrest had to call in accordance with the provisions of this wrongful act of malice. 

In the provisions of a contract it was stated that his posts on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites could not cause adverse events for him in future use. This was not the case in the previous agreement, and he needed guidance to redeem his reputation.

For our camping provisions, we brought every kind of eatables and victuals we could think of. Each item of goods was a specific thing we needed, and our stock of food, cookery, the last issue of penicillin, and alternative resources would be plenty for general use  and official purposes to get us through the weeklong trip. With the proper provision, any length trip is possible.

The mother set aside provisions every month for her young son’s education. When he was 18, she had enough saved to pay for four years at Princeton University. 

Their only child Violet gave them the provision of care as they got older. They barely had adequate toilet facilities or a new issue of stamps when she was young, but she gave her elderly parents luxury in old age.

The provisions of the treaty stated that they must share the proper provision of coal and financial provision. The provisions of this act were compiled into a legal document.

The copyright document made provisions that the author could not publish with Harpercollins Publishers until his contract at Random House was complete.

What are synonyms and antonyms of provision?

There are many different words that someone can use in place of the word provision (prə-vĭzh′ən c14). These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English language grammatical device to know because they can help you avoid repeating yourself, as well as expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word provision is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  equipping
  •  fitting out
  •  furnishing
  •  preparation
  •  groundwork
  •  accouterment
  •  store
  •  arrangement
  •  plan
  •  procurement
  •  supplying
  •  precaution
  •  catering
  •  supplies
  •  prearrangement
  •  outline
  •  providing
  •  emergency
  •  foundation
  •  supplying
  •  stock

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as the word provision (prəˈvɪʒ ən). These are called antonyms, and are also a useful tool for expanding one’s vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word provision is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  removal
  •  deportation
  •  discharge
  •  elimination
  •  eradication
  •  evacuation
  •  eviction
  •  expulsion
  •  replacement
  •  banishment
  •  dismissal
  •  ejection
  •  exile
  •  expatriation
  •  extermination
  •  extirpation
  •  extraction
  •  transference

What is the origin of the word provision?

According to Etymonline, the word provision (​prəˈvɪʒən) has been used since the late 14th century Middle English as provisioun. This comes from the 14c Old French provision/prōvīsiōn, from the Latin provisionem which is the Latin provisio or nominative Latin prōvīsiō/prōvīsus, meaning a foreseeing or foresight. This is from the past participle of prōvidēre/providere meaning look ahead or exercise forethought or caution, like the related word provide. This word has been used to mean some supply of necessary things since the mid-15th century, and specifically for food since 1600. It has been used in law since the late 15c. The word provision car or provision-car is attested since 1864. Provision has been used as a verb since 1787. One can add the suffixes al, er, s, and ly to create the related words provisional (adj.), provisionally (adv.), provisioner (n.), provisions (pl. n.), and more.

Overall, the word provision (prəˈviʒən) refers to goods set aside, esp. for a journey. The provision noun has many meanings, 


  1. provision: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense
  2. PROVISION Synonyms | 21  28 Synonyms & Antonyms for PROVISION | Thesaurus
  3. REMOVAL Synonyms: 28 Synonyms & Antonyms for REMOVAL | Thesaurus 
  4. provision | Origin and meaning of provision | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. PROVISION | Cambridge English Dictionary