- past(def 12).
- a preterit tense.
- a verb form in this tense.
Origin of preterit
Examples from the Web for preterite
May I venture to suggest a pun on the preterite of the verb to speak?
Fit, an Americanism denoting the preterite of the verb to fight.The Slang Dictionary
John Camden Hotten
Find the blind, I may remark, are pronounced to rhyme with the preterite of grin.Underwoods
Robert Louis Stevenson
In several cases this transfer of the preterite has survived.
The preterite of to sleep (slepan), for example, was slp, and that of to weep was weop.
- a tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
- a verb in this tense
- denoting this tense
Word Origin and History for preterite
mid-14c., "having to do with the past," from Old French preterit "past tense" (13c.) and directly from Latin praeteritum (as in tempus praeteritum "time past"), past participle of praeterire "to go by, go past," from praeter "beyond, before, above, more than" (see prae-) + itum, past participle of ire "to go" (see ion). Grammar sense is late 14c. The word also was a noun in Middle English meaning "past times" (late 14c.). Related: Preteritive. Preterite-present attested from 1813.