or pret·er·ite

[ pret-er-it ]
/ ˈprɛt ər ɪt /

noun Grammar.

a preterit tense.
a verb form in this tense.


Grammar. noting a past action or state.
Archaic. bygone; past.

Origin of preterit

1300–50; Middle English < Latin praeteritus past, past participle of praeterīre to go by, equivalent to praeter- preter- + -i-, base of īre to go + -tus past participle suffix; as tense name < Latin (tempus) praeteritum

Related forms

pret·er·it·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for preterite

British Dictionary definitions for preterite


US preterit



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 for preterite

C14: from Late Latin praeteritum (tempus) past (time, tense), from Latin praeterīre to go by, from preter- + īre to go
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