preterit was our Word of the Day on 05/23/2014. Hear the podcast!
Origin and Etymology of preterit
Definition of preterit
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The original form of this word, which dates to Middle English, has no final "e," but preterite, as it appears in our second example, is another accepted styling of the word. Like many technical linguistic terms, preterit is ultimately Latin in origin: it comes from praeter, meaning "beyond, past, by." (This meaning is also apparent in the now-archaic adjectival use of preterit to mean "bygone" or "former.") Another word from praeter is preternatural, from the Latin phrase praeter naturam, meaning "beyond nature." That word is typically used to describe what is so unusual or extraordinary as to seem outside of what can be accounted for by nature.
First Known Use of preterit
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Spanish Central: Translation of preterit
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