Word of the Day Archive
Thursday November 26, 2009
1. Dry food for domestic animals, such as hay, straw, corn, oats, or a mixture of ground grain; feed.
2. Food or provisions.
It turns out that he and thousands of other German immigrants have been acting as pre-invasion intelligence-gatherers, ensuring that "the German Army knew almost to a bale of hay what provender lay between London and the coast."
-- Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War
Frances Trollope, Captain Marryat, Colonel Basil Hall and Charles Dickens in 1842 all commented on the way Americans wolfed down their provender as fast as possible, cramming the cornbread in their sloppy maws and, worse, doing so in grim silence, punctuated only by the noise of slurps, grunts; scraping knives and hacking coughs.
-- Simon Schama, "Them and US", The Guardian, March 29, 2003
Provender comes from Old French, from Late Latin praebenda (prae and pro being confused), "a daily allowance of provisions," from praebere, contraction of praehibere, "to hold forth, to offer, to afford," from prae-, "before" + habere, "to have, to hold."