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Word for the Wise June 29, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Ponere offspring

A listener in India asked about any antonyms of the word postpone. If to postpone something is "to hold it back to a later time," why do we not use the word prepone to talk about scheduling something for an earlier time? (来源:英语麦当劳www.EnglishCN.com)

Put it this way: we don't use the word prepone because that coinage has never caught on. Reschedule seems to suit English speakers just fine. But the positioning of the prefix post with the Latin ponere (meaning "to place; put") finds us looking up how other ponere offspring are placed in our lexicon.

For starters, remember that the ponere verb appears in English as both pone and pose. In addition to postpone, the resulting collection of linguistic kin ranges from the obsolete sepose and inpone (meaning "to set aside; reserve;" and to "stake" or "wager," respectively) to the still-current compose, impose, oppose, expose, dispose, suppose, and transpose.

Where else can one find that ponere ancestor? Try your friendly neighborhood poker game, where pone names the player usually on the dealer's right who cuts the cards.

 
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