One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The action of passing over or disregarding a matter, especially the rhetorical technique of making summary mention of something by professing to omit it.
- ‘If Iago / Janus sees backward, he also most of the time speaks backward through the use of preterition or chiasmus, in which the language is turned at one and the same time both ways, towards the right and towards the left.’
- ‘That, dear readers, was as fine an example of preterition as you're likely to see on the Internet on a Wednesday morning.’
- ‘New England settlers, true believers in election and preterition, helped found a country where free will is given vast rein.’
2(in Calvinist theology) omission from God's elect; nonelection to salvation.
Late 16th century: from late Latin praeteritio(n-), from praeterire ‘pass, go by’.
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