Word of the Day : November 13, 2010

retrodict

play
verb ret-ruh-DIKT

Definition

: to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain (a past event or state of affairs)

Did You Know?

We predict that you will guess the correct origins of "retrodict," and chances are we will not contradict you. English speakers had started using "predict" by at least the early 17th century; it's a word formed by combining "prae-" (meaning "before") and "dicere" (meaning "to say"). Since the rough translation of "predict" is "to say before," it's no surprise that when people in the 1950s wanted a word for "predicting" the past, they created it by combining the prefix for "backward" ("retro-") with the "-dict" of "predict." Other "dicere" descendants in English include "contradict," "benediction," "dictate," "diction," and "dictionary."


Examples

The technology enables scientists to retrodict past solar events and activities.

"Paleontologists attempting to retrodict body mass from fossilized dental remains must be aware of the effect that sample composition may have on their results." -- From an article in Science Letter, May 25, 2010



Quick Quiz

What relative of "retrodict" means "the act of thinking about the past or something that happened in the past"? The answer is ...


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