posthumous

adjective
post·​hu·​mous | \ ˈpäs-chə-məs How to pronounce posthumous (audio) also -tə-, -tyə-, -thə-; päst-ˈhyü-məs, ˈpōst-, -ˈyü- How to pronounce posthumous (audio) \

Definition of posthumous

1 : born after the death of the father
2 : published after the death of the author
3 : following or occurring after death posthumous fame

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Other Words from posthumous

posthumousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for posthumous

Synonyms

Antonyms

  • antemortem
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Where does posthumous come from?

Readers who are looking for the origins of the word posthumous may be interested to know that it is an example of a folk etymology. A folk etymology involves the respelling or changing of an unfamiliar word (often one borrowed from another language) to make it resemble an unrelated but better-known word or words. The classic example in English is cockroach, which was formed by substituting the English words cock (the name of a bird) and roach (the name of a fish) for the similar-sounding but totally unrelated Spanish word for a bug, cucaracha.
Posthumous comes from the Latin posthumus, which is itself an alteration of postumus ("born after the father's death"). It is thought that the word humus (meaning "dirt, earth" in Latin) was substituted for -umus in the mistaken belief that the word's final element had something to do with the soil in a grave.

Examples of posthumous in a Sentence

She received a posthumous award for her life of philanthropy. the soldier was awarded a posthumous medal for valor
Recent Examples on the Web Boseman received a posthumous Screen Actors Guild Award and his first Oscar nomination for the Netflix film, which was final live-action role. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 28 Aug. 2021 On Friday, the office of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi granted Ms. Sadat a posthumous national award. New York Times, 10 July 2021 Several of those awards appear to be locks, particularly for the late Boseman, who would become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award following Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. BostonGlobe.com, 25 Apr. 2021 Several of those awards appear to be locks, particularly for the late Boseman, who would become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award following Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. Jake Coyle, Chron, 25 Apr. 2021 Several of those awards appear to be locks, particularly for the late Boseman, who would become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award following Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Apr. 2021 Several of those awards appear to be locks, particularly for the late Boseman, who would become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award following Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. Jake Coyle, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Apr. 2021 Several of those awards appear to be locks, particularly for the late Boseman, who would become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award following Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. Jake Coyle, chicagotribune.com, 25 Apr. 2021 Several of those awards appear to be locks, particularly for the late Boseman, who would become the third actor to ever win a posthumous Academy Award following Peter Finch and Heath Ledger. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, 24 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'posthumous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of posthumous

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for posthumous

Latin posthumus, alteration of postumus late-born, posthumous, from superlative of posterus coming after — more at posterior

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Time Traveler for posthumous

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The first known use of posthumous was in 1608

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Dictionary Entries Near posthumous

posthume

posthumous

posthumously

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Last Updated

2 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Posthumous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/posthumous. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for posthumous

posthumous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of posthumous

: happening, done, or published after someone's death

posthumous

adjective
post·​hu·​mous | \ ˈpäs-chə-məs also -t(y)ə- \

Medical Definition of posthumous

1 : born after the death of the father
2 : following or occurring after death

Other Words from posthumous

posthumously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on posthumous

Nglish: Translation of posthumous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of posthumous for Arabic Speakers

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