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mid-15c., "body of a statute," from Anglo-French purveuest "it is provided," or purveu que "provided that" (late 13c.), clauses that introduced statutes in old legal documents, from Anglo-French purveu, Old French porveu (Modern French pourvu) "provided," past participle of porveoir "to provide," from Latin providere "make ready" (see provide). Sense of "scope, extent" is first recorded 1788 in "Federalist" (Madison). Modern sense and spelling influenced by view (n.).