from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of, relating to, or being the verb tense that describes a past action or state.
- n. The verb form expressing or describing a past action or condition.
- n. A verb in the preterite form.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. showing an action at a determined moment in the past.
- n. The preterite tense, simple past tense: the grammatical tense that determines the specific initiation or termination of an action in the past.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- Same as preterit.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a term formerly used to refer to the simple past tense
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 Indo-European roots + īre, to go; see ei- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)