Definition of a "good provider"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ryu, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Hi, frinds.

    What is the definition of a "good provider"?

    I understand that a provider is a person who earns the money and supports his or her family. A "good provider" is of course a "good" provider, but what does it specifically indicate?

    Is he an honest person who earns the decent money for his family? Or is he a person who earns a lot of money regardless of the profession?

    Please let me know.

    Thank you!:)
     
  2. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    It means that his/her dependents will have all that they need to survive, study, etc.
     
  3. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    There is no, actual, value judgement on whether a "good provider" is an honest person. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't.

    It depends how it is used. It usually means "someone who can provide well for their spouse/children".

    E.g.:

    Richard was a loyal man, and a good provider for his wife and children.
    Bob was a good provider for his three children, but he had a hot temper.
    Jacob said to his wife, "I can provide for the both of us, why don't you stay home and take care of the children."
    etc.
     
  4. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Thanks, M56 and judkinsc.

    Judging from your instant replies, I understand that whenever you hear "a good provider," you take it neutral about his or her profession, personality or income. It all depends on the context.

    Am I right?

    Or do you generally tend to think about a certain specific personality whenever you hear a phrase "a good provider"?
     
  5. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    There is a slight connotation for "a good man" with the description, but you can't base anything on it.
     
  6. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    ;)

    Yes, that's right. My grandfather was a miner and a good provider. One of my students is the ambassador of a European country and he also is a good provider. They say that Al Capone was a good provider.
     
  7. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.

    Or a "good woman".
     
  8. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    How about a "good person" :)

    IMHO, it all depends on the context. What if someone says This guy is a good provider. The guy may happen to be a drug dealer and he wouldn’t be regarded as a good person by the rest of the society, would he?
     
  9. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    Like a child?
     
  10. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Like a gender-neutral alternative.
     
  11. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Thank you, folks.

    I had imagined that a good provider is a good and honest person, but now I understand it is rather neutral about personal judgment.

    Bill Gates is also a good provider.... I'm a Mac user, though.
     
  12. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    That made me think of something.

    We also use the word "provider" for a company that offers a service. i.e. "the cell-phone provider", "the cable provider", "the broadband provider", etc.

    You could call one of these companies "a good provider" and have it mean only that they offer good service.
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It is probably my age and culture, but "a good provider" immediately makes me think husband and father. I suppose these days I should extend the definition to spouse and/or parent:) :)
     
  14. Whenever I think of "a good provider", I associate it with the company that provides Internet for me heh :)
     
  15. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    I know that the words good provider mean someone who makes enough money to support his/her family well, whether he/she is a good wo/man or otherwise, but as an expression, I would immediately associate it only to an honest and good person and also a male, unless it was a woman supporting a family on her own. Conditioning, I suppose. :confused:
     
  16. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Thanks a lot.

    So, it may depend on the age, culture, place (UK, Australia, USA, etc. and localities in each country) how you take "a good provider"?

    The older you are, the more modest the definition of a "good provider"?
     
  17. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    USA/English
    I agree. What actually comes to my mind with "good provider" is actually a man* who can have other shortcomings, but always makes sure there's plenty of food on the table.

    *To me, it's an old-fashioned phrase, and comes from an era when it would have been used for men. There are many women who are "good providers" these days (and were in the old days, too) but the phrase is hopelessly associated (in my mind) with the old-fashioned "father as breadwinner" family. You hear all the time, "she's supporting the family", "she supports him, he doesn't earn a penny" but you don't usually hear those women referred to as good providers. Even for a man, you hear "he takes care of his kids" or "he's a good father", but less "he's a good provider." Part of it, I suppose, is that the concept of what it is to be a good father now goes way beyond just putting the food on the table.
     
  18. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    Thank you, ElaineG.

    Is "a good provider" now a kind of obsolete? A bit outdated?

    If I use it, say, "These days every young woman in this area with a high unemployment rate wants to find a good provider." then, does it sound rather old-fashioned? (aside from "a gender deviation")
     
  19. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    USA/English
    Actually, it that context it sounds perfect, as it reflects a more "old-fashioned" (from the perspective of my particular culture) view of a marriage, as a primarily economic rather than romantic arrangement, and a similar view of gender roles. I wouldn't say, except ironically, that one of my colleagues was "a good provider", but if the time and the place fit the "mood" conveyed by "good provider", then use it!
     
  20. Ryu Senior Member

    Japan and Japanese
    I think I got the feeling. Perhaps arranged marriage in Japan often (or perhaps sometimes) fits the atmosphere of a "good provider."
     
  21. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    USA/English
    Yes, I would certainly think that in an arranged marriage situation, the bride's family would ask the matchmaker or the groom's parents, "is he a good provider?" The phrase definitely fits that atmosphere.
     

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