An adjective that describes someone who knows what you need in advance and do for you.
It is more than flexible and adaptable.

For example, My father used to watch news on a phone after he had dinner. So my mom knows that and she charged his phone in case there will be no batteries when he needs them.

In this time, how can I describe my mom?


12 Answers 12


I'd say they are proactive.


acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes

// Once patients have the big data about their bodies, the thinking goes, they can be proactive about their health, cut care costs and foster better relationships with their doctors.

[Merriam Webster]

Or forward-thinking.


thinking about and planning for the future, not just the present:

  • Forward-thinking architects focus on the long-term environmental impact of their buildings.
  • The City has consistently shown an innovative and forward-thinking approach to providing services.

[Cambridge English Dictionary]

  • I wouldn't say "proactive" here, though it is commonly thematically relevant. Proactive means charging the phone. OP seems to be focused on asking about knowing that the phone will be used in the near future. Being proactive requires forward-thinking, but the two are not the same. A "lazy oracle", if you will, is forward-thinking but not proactive. I do agree on the "forward-thinking", by the way.
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:18
  • 2
    @Flater I 100% disagree. OP's mother was definitely "acting in anticipation of future ... needs" by charging her husband's phone.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 21:55
  • More colloquial possibilities might be ''on the ball'' or ''switched on'' (as in, aware of what's going on). Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 23:43

She could be described as prescient:

a.1. Having knowledge of coming events; foreseeing; conscious beforehand.

  • 3
    Precognitive is a possible variant.
    – nijineko
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 4:15
  • 9
    A decent answer, but to me, prescient connotes a kind of keen insight that allows one to predict something that others might not. I would not describe someone who predicts that the sun will rise tomorrow as prescient, nor the wife who simply knows her husband's usual everyday routine. This may or may not fit depending on the exact specifics of how "obvious" the prediction is. Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 19:26
  • I'd probably go with this as an answer, though it doesn't include the "and acts upon this" part of the OP.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 17:03


showing consideration for the needs of other people.

  • He was attentive and thoughtful. (OxfordL)


given to or chosen or made with heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others

  • a kind and thoughtful friend (M-W)

And you could definitely call a mother or a wife thoughtful. This article considers things much more in depth. Among other things, it says:

We have seen that thoughtful implies wanting to alleviate another's pain or suffering. It can also be used to mean wanting to do something for the benefit of another.

The connotation is further described by showing the thinking mechanism of a thoughtful person:

It is important, then, to include in the definition that not only does a thoughtful person not want others to feel bad, they want to do something to cause them to feel good. This can be captured with the following components:

  • X often thinks something like this about people:
  • I think this person will feel something good if I do something (W)
  • I want to do something (W) because of this

They are provident.

provident [adj]

  1. Providing for future needs or events:
  • "a shelter with bunks, springs only, intended for provident hikers who carried sleeping bags" (Donald Hall).

[American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language]

This is a hypernym, as these provident hikers might only carry their own requirements.

  • 4
    As is often the case, it is worth pointing out that this is a fairly uncommon word which many native speakers would not understand. Moreover, (as a native speaker with a fairly large vocabulary) I would interpret the primary meaning of provident as meaning that someone provided (not necessarily anticipating needs), so this may not put the emphasis where the OP wants.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 21:21
  • 3
    I'm with dbmag9: I wouldn't associate the sense of anticipating a need. I would accept provident as meaning satisfying a need, possibly by careful planning, but also possibly by luck. Provident doesn't capture all of the intended meaning. Commented Jul 6, 2021 at 23:11
  • @dbmag9 (2) I might not have suggested this had not AHD listed it first. Note that 'thoughtful' and 'prescient' are probably even further from being an exact match, grosser hypernyms. Is there a reason you didn't point this out? // (1) ELU is aimed at practised Anglophones / linguists. I consider 'thoughtful' an inappropriate answer here (though not incorrect per se, of course). Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 11:36
  • @'Thomas Bitonti 'Provident doesn't capture all of the intended meaning.' No. As I say, a hypernym. But I'd say the meaning AHD, Collins and RHK Webster's list first (and they list senses according to idiomaticity) is a closer fit than 'thoughtful' ('pensive'? 'giving someone the best seat'?), 'prescient' (knowing that Italy will win on Sunday?) But no caveats in comments there. Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 11:41
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth When I commented, yours was the top-ranked answer; I don't tend to stick around and pay much ongoing attention to questions here unless they really interest me. I think I was initially just going to make the point about provident being uncommon (which is very frequently an issue here, where non-native speakers risk mixing registers if no-one points it out) and the second point came to mind while I was writing. Please don't take an absence of my comment as a statement on the relative merits of different answers!
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 13:20

solicitous (Merriam-Webster)
Synonyms attentive, considerate, kind, thoughtful

In my experience, the term nearly always implies providing [exactly] whatever is needed (by the person who is being attended to by the solicitous person).


Attentive is an adjective that suits someone who anticipates the needs of others.

From Lexico

1.1 Assiduously attending to the comfort or wishes of others; very polite or courteous.

Synonyms include conscientious, considerate, and accommodating. From your description, "She is attentive to those around her, anticipating the need to charge his phone before he does."



[having] the ability or action of imagining or anticipating what might happen in the future. Free Dictionary

Someone who knows what someone else will need in advance could be described as foresightful, or having foresight. The fact that the person then meets those needs is a strong implication although it is not included in the meaning of the word.

  • An unusual action can sometimes be best described with an unusual word. A kind of “form follows function” approach to communication.
    – user205876
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 23:48

intuitive is the word which will fit in.

ADJECTIVE 1 Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.



What's wrong with directly stating "anticipating their need?" Or, "anticipated his need", to better match the example? "My mother anticipated that my father's battery would need to be charged." This captures the intended meaning exactly. I don't see a need to rely on just one word.

"Foresaw" works pretty well, but it's not an adjective. "My mother foresaw that my father's battery would need to be charged." My thoughts are that "foresightful" doesn't work, because "foresightful" pulls in too much of a sense of "having foresight", which can mean literally being able to see the future in a supernatural sense, and that doesn't work for a case of reasoned foresight.

To be descriptive, a phrase might be better than trying to find an adjective. For example, "My mother very often anticipates other's needs." Or, "My mother is very good at foreseeing what others will need."

  • This reads as a comment, which you can leave for the question or other answers to ask for clarification. Not sure why it came up in review just now, almost a week later. What adjective do you propose?
    – livresque
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 23:03

Cognizant may be a strong contender for what you are looking for.

Adj. 1. cognizant - (usually followed by `of') having knowledge or understanding; "our youth are cognizant of the law"; "I am well aware of his limitations"

Justification: you asked for an adjective describing one who knows what one needs in advance and what to do for you. The connotation appears to be a social awareness in consideration of another's needs such that one can supply for the other's deficiencies when they occur. To be aware, or cognizant of, one's needs seems fitting given the immediately following definition of incognizant on the same page:

incognizant, unaware - (often followed by `of') lacking knowledge or awareness; "incognizant of the new political situation"

Here is how it sounds in a sentence:

My mother was cognizant of my father's needs, always looking out for him, and preventing even the slightest misfortune from befalling him.


The word that strikes closest for me is anticipation and you'll see that used in the definition of several words above. There's no direct adjective, but to steal a quote from the movie Gosford Park you could say they 'have the gift of anticipation' .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXkfnowZrNM


I suggest "Johnny on the spot," an idiom referring to someone who is readily available to fulfill a need -- especially an urgent one

Source: writingexplained.org

  • OP is looking for an adjective, though.
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 15:18
  • ...yeah, and it sounds like a porta toity. Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 23:03
  • @Tim He's "Johnny on the spot"-ish. I obviously am not recommending anybody use that, haha, just playfully showing you could could make an adjective out of this!
    – TKoL
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 12:18

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