Is “Prepone” a Word?
A reader wonders:
Can the word ‘prepone’ be used as an antonym of ‘postpone’? I’ve often heard people using this term but never been convinced about the usage. If this term is not correct or non-existent, what is the correct antonym of ‘postpone’ if any at all?
The word prepone to mean “to move forward in time,” is a word coined by English speakers in India. Example: The examination set for March 12 has been preponed to February 16.
Although a recent coinage–the OED dates its appearance from the 1970s–the word is constructed along the same lines as postpone,
postpone: from Latin postponere, “put after.” post=”after” and ponere=“to put” or “to place.”
The English prefix pre-, meaning “before,” comes from Latin prae, meaning “before.” If postponere, why not praeponere?
Some existing antonyms for postpone are “bring forward, move up, advance.” Ex. The ten o’clock meeting has been moved forward to nine.
The word prepone sounds too strange and unlovely to my ear for me to want to use it. However, if enough speakers decide that the word fills a need, it will catch on globally.
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