perennial » preannual

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “If at all possible preannual rye grass is better. Not annual rye grass. 100% preannual.” (link)
  • “According to Jim Mason this variety is an preannual whereas the common sunflower is an annual.” (link)
  • “I forget if they are annual or preannual…whatever) and I faithfully watered them everyday …” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Mark Mandel (American Dialect Society mailing list, 10 September 2007)

Mark Mandel: I first saw “preannuals” for “perennials” on a flyer, handwritten and photocopied, that I picked up at our local Farmers’ Market last fall: “This being our last Market Saturday for the season, a tinge of sadness but also of hope prevails as we reorganize, till the soil, plant seeds, cover preannuals to overwinter, and in the wintertime start plants in our greenhouse.”

Reshaping the somewhat opaque -ennial part of perennial makes a clear contrast to annual, as in the cites above. Reshaping the per- part to pre- supplies a more easily recognizable prefix, though the semantics isn’t clear to me.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2007/09/17 |

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