Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
The past tense is used to describe or indicate an action that began in the past. Depending on how we form the past tense, it might describe actions that happened or were completed in the past, were occurring at the same time as something else in the past, or continued to happen until or near the present time.
There are four forms of the Past Tense that can accomplish these tasks.
pret·er·iteor pret·er·it (prĕt′ər-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 per in Indo-European roots + īre, to go; see ei- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
preterite(ˈprɛtərɪt) grammar or
1. (Grammar) a tense of verbs used to relate past action, formed in English by inflection of the verb, as jumped, swam
2. (Grammar) a verb in this tense
(Grammar) denoting this tense
[C14: from Late Latin praeteritum (tempus) past (time, tense), from Latin praeterīre to go by, from preter- + īre to go]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
preterite[ˈpretərɪt] N (Ling) → pretérito m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
preterite[ˈpretərɪt] n → prétérit m
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
preterite, (esp US) preterit
adj verb → im Imperfekt; (in English) → im Präteritum; preterite form → Imperfekt-/Präteritumsform f; the preterite tense → das Imperfekt, das Präteritum
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995