General English

General Science

  • noun a suggestion about what should be done



  • noun an opinion as to what action should be taken


  • noun information or suggestions given by one person to another on what has happened in the past or on what is the best course of action to follow in the future

Origin & History of “advice”

like modern French avis, advice originally meant ‘opinion’, literally ‘what seems to one to be the case’. In Latin, ‘seem’ was usually expressed by the passive of the verb vidēre ‘see’; thus, vīsum est, ‘it seems’ (literally ‘it is seen’). with the addition of the dative first person pronoun, one could express the notion of opinion: mihi vīsum est, ‘it seems to me’. It appears either that this was partially translated into Old French as ce m’est a vis, or that the past participle vīsum was nominalized in Latin, making possible such phrases as ad (meum) vīsum ‘in (my) view’; but either way it is certain that a(d)- became prefixed to vīs(um), producing a new word, a(d)vis, for ‘opinion’. It was originally borrowed into English without the d, but learned influence had restored the Latin spelling by the end of the 15th century. As to its meaning, ‘opinion’ was obsolete by the mid 17th century, but already by the late 14th century the present sense of ‘counsel’ was developing.

The verb advise (14th c.) probably comes from Old French aviser, based on avis.