pret·er·ite or pret·er·it (prĕtər-ĭt)
Of, relating to, or being the verb tense that describes a past action or state.
1. The verb form expressing or describing a past action or condition.
2. A verb in the preterite form.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin (tempus) praeteritum, past (tense), neuter past participle of praeterīre, to go by : praeter, beyond, comparative of prae, before; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + īre, to go; see ei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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