preposterous

After a post entitled “Post-post post,” the follow-up called “Post-‘Post-post post’ post” may have seemed preposterous, but even if it was, it has given us a reason to look at the word prepóstero/preposterous itself. Made up of  prae- ‘before’ and post- ‘after,’ the Latin original, praeposterus, followed a horizontal version of the same logic as the English phrase upside down, which conveys the notion that the side that is normally up is now down. The Latin adjective had expressed the idea that what is normally before is now after, so that praeposterus meant literally ‘reversed.’ Derivative senses included ‘distorted,’ ‘perverse,’ ‘absurd,’ and ultimately ‘preposterous’ itself.

I could have scheduled this post before the one entitled “Post-‘Post-post post’ post,” but you might have thought I was putting the post- before the pre-, the cart before the horse, which is of course preposterous.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Just A Smidgen
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 12:56:42

    Hahaha, good one today!! Pre-posterous!!

    Reply

  2. Steve Schwartzman
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 14:14:58

    Glad you enjoyed this one. I’m fascinated by what etymology sometimes reveals about familiar words.

    Reply

  3. ceciliag
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 20:34:25

    you are so clever.. how you introduce humour to dry words.. love it.. c

    Reply

  4. Steve Schwartzman
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 21:02:38

    Thanks, Cecilia. I’m glad that you can share in the humor.

    Reply

  5. kathryningrid
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 21:35:36

    I found this post-post post perversely entertaining.

    Reply

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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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