furnish vs supply what difference

what is difference between furnish and supply



From Middle English furnysshen, from Old French furniss-, stem of certain parts of furnir, fornir (Modern French fournir), from Germanic, from Frankish *frumjan (to complete, execute), from Proto-Germanic *frumjaną (to further, promote), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (front, forward). Cognate with Old High German frumjan (to perform, provide), Old High German fruma (utility, gain), Old English fremu (profit, advantage), Old English fremian (to promote, perform). More at frame, frim.


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈfɝnɪʃ/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈfɜːnɪʃ/
  • Hyphenation: fur‧nish


furnish (plural furnishes)

  1. Material used to create an engineered product.
    • 2003, Martin E. Rogers, Timothy E. Long, Synthetic Methods in Step-growth Polymers, Wiley-IEEE, page 257
      The resin-coated furnish is evenly spread inside the form and another metal plate is placed on top.


furnish (third-person singular simple present furnishes, present participle furnishing, simple past and past participle furnished)

  1. (transitive) To provide a place with furniture, or other equipment.
  2. (transitive, figuratively) To supply or give (something).
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To supply (somebody) with something.

Related terms

  • furniture


Further reading

  • furnish in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • furnish in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “furnish”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.



From Old French fornais (compare Irish foirnéis, Scottish Gaelic fòirneis), from Latin fornāx.


furnish m (genitive singular furnish, plural furnishyn)

  1. furnace



  • Gregory Toner, Maire Ní Mhaonaigh, Sharon Arbuthnot, Dagmar Wodtko, Maire-Luise Theuerkauf, editors (2019), “2 foirnéis”, in eDIL: Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language


Etymology 1

From Middle English supplien, borrowed from Old French soupleer, souploier, from Latin supplere (to fill up, make full, complete, supply).
The Middle English spelling was modified to conform to Latin etymology.


  • enPR: səplīʹ, IPA(key): /səˈplaɪ/
  • Rhymes: -aɪ
  • Hyphenation: sup‧ply


supply (third-person singular simple present supplies, present participle supplying, simple past and past participle supplied)

  1. (transitive) To provide (something), to make (something) available for use.
    to supply money for the war
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Prior to this entry?)
  2. (transitive) To furnish or equip with.
    to supply a furnace with fuel; to supply soldiers with ammunition
  3. (transitive) To fill up, or keep full.
    Rivers are supplied by smaller streams.
  4. (transitive) To compensate for, or make up a deficiency of.
    • 1881, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque:
      It was objected against him that he had never experienced love. Whereupon he arose, left the society, and made it a point not to return to it until he considered that he had supplied the defect.
  5. (transitive) To serve instead of; to take the place of.
    • 1666, Edmund Waller, Instructions to a Painter
      Burning ships the banished sun supply.
    • The sun was set, and Vesper, to supply / His absent beams, had lighted up the sky.
  6. (intransitive) To act as a substitute.
  7. (transitive) To fill temporarily; to serve as substitute for another in, as a vacant place or office; to occupy; to have possession of.
    to supply a pulpit
Derived terms
  • supplier
Related terms
  • suppletion


supply (countable and uncountable, plural supplies)

  1. (uncountable) The act of supplying.
    supply and demand
  2. (countable) An amount of something supplied.
    A supply of good drinking water is essential.
    She said, “China has always had a freshwater supply problem with 20 percent of the world’s population but only 7 percent of its freshwater.
  3. (in the plural) provisions.
  4. (chiefly in the plural) An amount of money provided, as by Parliament or Congress, to meet the annual national expenditures.
    to vote supplies
  5. Somebody, such as a teacher or clergyman, who temporarily fills the place of another; a substitute.
Derived terms
  • loss of supply
  • supply teacher
  • supply vessel

Etymology 2

supple +‎ -ly

Alternative forms

  • supplely


  • enPR: sŭpʹlē, IPA(key): /ˈsʌpli/
  • Hyphenation: sup‧ply


supply (comparative more supply, superlative most supply)

  1. Supplely: in a supple manner, with suppleness.
    • 1906, Ford Madox Ford, The fifth queen: and how she came to court, page 68:
      His voice was playful and full; his back was bent supply.
    • 1938, David Leslie Murray, Commander of the mists:
      [] the rain struck on her head as she bent supply to the movements of the pony, while it scrambled up the bank to the sheltering trees. For a couple of miles the path ran through woods alive with the varied voices of the rain, []
    • 1963, Johanna Moosdorf, Next door:
      She swayed slightly in the gusts, bent supply to them and seemed at one with the force which Straup found so hostile.
    • 1988, Михаи́л Алекса́ндрович Шо́лохов (Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov), Quiet flows the Don (translated), volume 1, page 96:
      Grigory hesitantly took her in his arms to kiss her, but she held him off, bent supply backwards and shot a frightened glance at the windows.
      ‘They’ll see!’
      ‘Let them!’
      ‘I’d be ashamed—’

Further reading

  • supply in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • supply in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • supply at OneLook Dictionary Search

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