- The verb form expressing or describing a past action or condition.
- A verb in the preterite form.
Origin of preteriteMiddle 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.
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").