There are 2 main definitions of supply in English:

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supply 1

Pronunciation: /səˈplʌɪ/

verb (supplies, supplying, supplied)

[with object]
1Make (something needed or wanted) available to someone; provide: the farm supplies apples to cider makers
More example sentences
  • The crux of the matter is the lack of information supplied by the company, analysts said.
  • Horne pointed out that the test's publishers supplied the only research available on the test.
  • Buckets for daffodils are available if you can supply daffodils.
1.1Provide with something needed or wanted: make sure the workers are supplied with enough building materials
More example sentences
  • It is as if by divine providence that I am supplied educational material just when I need it the most.
  • You could also help us by monetary contributions, or by supplying us postal stamps which we can use to send the book to more and more people.
  • The inactive passers-by will hopefully have made a contribution by supplying the police with good descriptions of the raiders.
1.2Be adequate to satisfy (a requirement or demand): the two reservoirs supply about 1% of the city’s needs
More example sentences
  • Three thousand donations are required weekly to supply the demand.
  • In the last three years there has been a 30 per cent increase in potting efforts, with virtually the entire local fleet now supplying the demand of processors in France, Spain and Ireland.
  • What's going on here is a seemingly great solution for supplying a demand.
satisfy, meet, fulfil, fill, be adequate for, cater for
2 archaic Take over (a vacant place or role): when she died, no one could supply her place
More example sentences
  • What is there in heaven that supplies its place?

noun (plural supplies)

1A stock or amount of something supplied or available for use: a farm with good water supply the demand for tickets greatly exceeds the supply
More example sentences
  • It would depend on the supply of stocks available and how many targets they have to hit.
  • Yesterday my neighbours made an extra trip to the supermarket, stocking up on extra supplies of bottled water and canned food, ‘just in case the worst happens’.
  • He added that while the store had ordered extra supplies of bottled water, he had not seen any other unusual related sales trends.
1.1 [mass noun] The action of providing what is needed or wanted: the deal involved the supply of forty fighter aircraft
More example sentences
  • How will they deal with the issue of power supply?
  • ScottishPower is involved in electricity production and supply in both the UK and the US.
  • Enron's origins were in companies involved in the production and supply of energy.
provision, providing, supplying, furnishing, dissemination, distribution, laying on, sending out, serving, accommodation
1.2 [mass noun] Economics The amount of a good or service offered for sale.
Example sentences
  • We know that producers will offer more supply at a higher price than a lower price, and we know that more consumers will buy more at a lower price than a higher price.
  • In the short term, at least, demand for service is far outpacing supply.
  • He believes that fewer apartments will now be built in areas with a surplus of supply.
1.3 (supplies) The provisions and equipment necessary for an army or for people engaged in a particular project or expedition.
Example sentences
  • All necessary injection equipment and supplies are provided for each client in an injection room, as well as the means for disposal.
  • The bulk of USASOC's planning is making sure the right people with the right equipment and necessary supplies are at the right place at the right time.
  • There are too few phone lines, my medical records are in boxes, and all but the most necessary equipment and supplies are in storage.
1.4 [as modifier] Providing necessary goods and equipment: a supply ship
More example sentences
  • Desert sand is hard on men and equipment and the supply lines are susceptible to guerrilla attacks.
  • Was there going to be a pause in the offensive or merely a necessary strengthening of the supply lines before the next stage of action?
  • A Royal Fleet Auxiliary supply ship en route to the Middle East has rescued 20 people from a sinking boat in the Mediterranean.
1.5 (supplies) British A grant of money by Parliament for the costs of government.
2 [usually as modifier] A person, especially a schoolteacher, acting as a temporary substitute for another: a supply teacher
More example sentences
  • The interim teachers will work closely with the existing teachers to cover classes, reducing the number of temporary supply teachers the school needs.
  • Simon's temporary return as a supply teacher was a welcome relief, providing a long-lost focus to the cast's squabbles.
  • Under a innovative scheme launched two years ago, it employs permanent supply teachers to use for cover and has fewer on temporary contracts.
substitute, stand-in, fill-in, locum, temporary, stopgap



in short supply

Not easily obtainable; scarce: he meant to go, but time and petrol were in short supply

on supply

(Of a schoolteacher) acting as a temporary substitute for another: she is on supply at a school in Middlesbrough
More example sentences
  • If we do have a male working here, say on supply, they don't make him feel awkward or uncomfortable, they treat him as just another colleague.
  • Once she had graduated, Rowling worked on supply for a year, teaching French.

supply and demand

Pronunciation: /səˌplʌɪ ən(d) dɪˈmɑːnd/
The amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price: by the law of supply and demand the cost of health care will plummet
More example sentences
  • The main task of the ECSC was to stabilize prices and coordinate supply and demand in the coal and steel market.
  • Others argue that in our economy, products find a price point by supply and demand.
  • The price system is that which balances supply and demand for scarce goods.


Late Middle English: from Old French soupleer, from Latin supplere 'fill up', from sub- 'from below' + plere 'fill'. The early sense of the noun was 'assistance, relief' (chiefly a Scots use).

Words that rhyme with supply

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, high, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sup¦ply

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There are 2 main definitions of supply in English:

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supply 2

Pronunciation: /ˈsʌpli/


Variant spelling of supplely (see supple).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sup¦ply

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