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Definition: Food or victuals; especially dry food for horses.

Pronunciation: Proh-vehn-dur


Provender is originally from the Latin word praebere meaning “to furnish or offer”.  From praebere came the Latin gerundive praebenda meaning “things to be furnished” and the Late Latin word praebenda meaning “allowance or subsistence”.  It became the Old French word provendier meaning “provider, beneficiary, or recipient” and then the French word provendir meaning “paid allowance for each chapter member of a cathedral”.  It dates back to around 1300.

Why this word?

Farm to table life used to be the only option.  However with the advent of grocery stores and supermarkets we are, for the most part, greatly disconnected from the source of our food.  In order to have fresh food in the winter we buy fruits and vegetables shipped from far away countries, thus decreasing nutrition and adding to global warming.  Local farms go out of business while large companies are successful.

In addition to this disconnect, meals are not eaten together as a family unit as often as they once were, with ever more activities and distractions taking the place of cooking and eating a healthy meal.  There are plenty of benefits to this faster paced lifestyle, but the knowledge of food and how to prepare it properly is slipping away.  Having a child has made me appreciate the importance of knowing where my food comes from and teaching my child to enjoy it and be able to prepare it correctly.

How to use the word provender in a sentence?

“You are going to love this restaurant!  The chef uses mainly local provender.”

“Mom, this is so unfair.  Next you’ll have me scavenging for provender for our table.”

“I support my local farm by buying a CSA share and eating local provender only.” 


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Written by Kate Fulton

Kate Fulton has a bachelor’s degree in classics and psychology from the University of Massachusetts and is working on a library science degree from Simmons College. She has always been fascinated by words- their usage, spelling, and etymology. Kate may be one of the few people who enjoyed the verbal section of the SAT. Yes, she is a word geek. Currently she bores her husband and young daughter with her love of vocabulary.


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