envision

envisage, envision
1. Envisage is an early 19c loanword from French, meaning at first ‘to look in the face of’ and then (its current meaning) ‘to have a mental picture of (something yet to happen)’. Fowler (1926) dismissed it as an ‘undesirable Gallicism’ and recommended as alternatives the words face, confront, contemplate, recognize, realize, view, and regard. Gowers (1965) added imagine, intend, and visualize to the list of words for which envisage was ‘a pretentious substitute’. None of these will always quite serve, however, and only some of them can be substituted for envisage in its common construction followed by a verbal noun (We do not envisage leaving just yet).
2. Neither Fowler not Gowers noticed the arrival, first in Britain (1921) and then more assertively in America, of the closely synonymous word envision, meaning ‘to see or foresee as in a vision’. The evidence of current use shows that envision is strongly favoured in AmE and envisage in BrE, but the division is not absolute and envision is becoming more common in BrE. Examples: (envisage)

• The best scenario…that we can envisage is one in which all those who want to do formal work will have an opportunity of doing two or three days a week —Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, 1980

• So mother envisaged us all here, gathered round staring down in this ghastly way —Penelope Lively, 1989

• Smith does not envisage bringing in a replacement —Times, 2006

• I did not envisage it would get as bad as this —Independent, 2006

• (envision) His blackest hypochondria had never envisioned quite so miserable a Catastrophe —Lytton Strachey, 1921

• They envision themselves wearing berets…and crawling about the rubble, throwing Molotov cocktails —Melody Maker, 1968

• It may be only the stuff of newspaper editorials, of course, to envision a strategy in which the United Nations takes decisive action —Sunday Times, 1990

• The Hubble was working as envisioned —weblog, CanE 2005.


Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Envision — means to conceive or see something within one s mind; to imagine.Envision may also refer to:In business: * Envision EMI, LLC, a management company based in Virginia, USA * Envision Financial, a financial institution based in British Columbia,… …   Wikipedia

  • envision — 1914, from EN (Cf. en ) (1) make, put in + VISION (Cf. vision). Related: Envisioned; envisioning. Earlier (1827) is envision d in sense endowed with vision …   Etymology dictionary

  • envision — index conceive (comprehend), expect (consider probable), predict, presage Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • envision — ► VERB ▪ visualize; envisage …   English terms dictionary

  • envision — [en vizh′ən, invizh′ən] vt. [ EN 1 + VISION] to imagine (something not yet in existence); picture in the mind …   English World dictionary

  • envision — (esp. AmE) verb ADVERB ▪ initially, originally ▪ The work took longer than initially envisioned. ▪ easily ▪ I can easily envision them working together. ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • envision — en|vi|sion [ ın vıʒn ] verb transitive to imagine that something will happen in the future, or is happening now: That s a very different process from the one I envisioned. envision (someone) doing something: I can envision eighth graders having… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • envision — [[t]ɪnvɪ̱ʒ(ə)n[/t]] envisions, envisioning, envisioned VERB If you envision something, you envisage it. [AM; also BRIT, LITERARY] [V n] In the future we envision a federation of companies... [V that] Most people do stop at this point, not… …   English dictionary

  • envision — UK [ɪnˈvɪʒ(ə)n] / US verb [transitive] Word forms envision : present tense I/you/we/they envision he/she/it envisions present participle envisioning past tense envisioned past participle envisioned American to envisage …   English dictionary

  • envision — /en vizh euhn/, v.t. to picture mentally, esp. some future event or events: to envision a bright future. [1920 25; EN 1 + VISION] * * * …   Universalium

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