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 "look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight," from pro "ahead" (see pro-) + videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). Sense of "scope, extent" is first recorded 1788 in "Federalist" (Madison). Modern sense and spelling influenced by view (n.).
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