One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Grammar. Of, relating to, or using the preterite; used only in the preterite tenses. In later use, chiefly in "preteritive present [adjective]".
Mid 18th century. From classical Latin praeterit-, past participial stem of praeterīre to go past + -ive. With the specifically use in grammar compare later preteritive present, preteritive present.
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