Thursday, October 06, 2005

The same

Even though legislators like to employ one of these words in connection with efforts to control the manufacture of controlled substances, forerunner and precursor are identical in meaning. Having seen them both in a single sentence in a newspaper story, I was struck by the notion that they are synonyms, and so they are, as the dictionary confirms. One is of Latin derivation and the other comes from the Anglo-Saxon, both in the prefix and in the core meaning. I wonder whether the additional current usage for precursor will survive for any extended period of time.


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