• synonyms


  1. a verb tense, as in Classical Greek, expressing action or, in the indicative mood, past action, without further limitation or implication.
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  1. of or in this tense.
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Origin of aorist

1575–85; < Greek aóristos unlimited, equivalent to a- a-6 + (h)oristós limited (*horid- (base of horízein to bound, limit; see horizon) + -tos adj. suffix)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aorist

Historical Examples of aorist

  • The time-forms of the verb are three, the present, the aorist, and the future.

    The Maya Chronicles


  • Wherever there is the perfect, the aorist is wanting, and vice vers.

  • The aorist form has, besides its own, the sense of the perfect.

  • The English prterite is the equivalent, not to the Greek perfect but the Greek aorist.

  • The distinctive forms are the present, the perfect, and the aorist.

British Dictionary definitions for aorist


  1. grammar a tense of the verb in classical Greek and in certain other inflected languages, indicating past action without reference to whether the action involved was momentary or continuousCompare perfect (def. 8), imperfect (def. 4)
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Derived Formsaoristic, adjectiveaoristically, adverb

Word Origin for aorist

C16: from Greek aoristos not limited, from a- 1 + horistos restricted, from horizein to define
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for aorist


1580s, the simple past tense of Greek verbs, from Greek aoristos (khronos) "indefinite (tense)," from privative prefix a- "not" (see a- (3)) + horistos "limited, defined," verbal adjective from horizein "to limit, define," from horos "boundary, limit, border" (see horizon).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper