Recorded since 1340, from Old French preterit (13th century), from Latin praeteritum (as in tempus praeteritum "time past"), the past participle of praeterire "to go by, go past", itself from praeter "beyond, before, above, more than" (comparative of prae "before") + itum (the past participle of ire "to go").
preterite (not comparable)
- (grammar, of a tense) showing an action at a determined moment in the past.
- Belonging wholly to the past; passed by.
- Things and persons as thoroughly preterite as Romulus or Numa.
preterite (plural preterites)
- (grammar) The preterite tense, simple past tense: the grammatical tense that determines the specific initiation or termination of an action in the past.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.