4.30.2006

[pre]eminent

I was reading something about an actor I've never heard of, and they said he has "a well-deserved reputation as a pre-eminent British Actor."

And then I wondered: what *is* preeminent anyway? Is it like "prehistoric"? Like, before there was eminence, there was a "pre" eminence?

When I looked it up, I saw that "eminent" and "pre-eminent" are synonyms, both meaning "widely known and esteemed."

So what's better: to say "She's an eminent painter" or "He's a pre-eminent sculptor"?

This is one of those questions that occasionally pops in my head which can be defined as "obsessively nerdy."

2 comments:

Lingfen Qi said...

hello i am from Beijing, China. I just read your interesting articles online. I have been studying English and now work as an editor for two years. I am also interested in languages. Hope we can get in touch with each other if you are pleased.:) oh, my name is Lingfen Qi.

mj said...

Thanks for visiting! What kind of editor are you, and where are you an editor?