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Is there a more succinct expression for "the day before yesterday"?

In German for example, gestern = 'yesterday.' The prefix vor roughly means before, so logically, vorgestern means 'the day before yesterday.'

Similarly, morgen = 'tomorrow', the prefix über roughly means over, so again, übermorgen means 'the day after tomorrow.'

(In Mandarin Chinese also you have respectively 前天 & 後天.)

Presumably, there are also similarly logical ways to say "the page after the next" or "the paragraph before the last", etc.

Are there no similarly succinct, and graceful, expressions in English?

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Two years from now. The very last paragraph. Those don't seem too glaringly ungraceful. –  J.R. Mar 31 '13 at 19:47
    
When you design your own language, you can make up the rules. If you tried anything like 'foreyesterday' or 'overmorrow', if people had the slightest idea of what you're talking about, they'd laugh. Why aren't languages logical? They are, for the most part, except for the exceptions. –  Mitch Mar 31 '13 at 20:03
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there may be many words that exist only in English too, so literally we can not compare one language with other on this basis, rather your question should be.. are their any words for this & this, /however nudiustertian - Pertaining to the day before yesterday. –  Raghav Mar 31 '13 at 20:05
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But not a true duplicate, as this question is as much about the day before yesterday as it is about the day after tomorrow. –  MετάEd Apr 1 '13 at 4:44
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Voting to re-open, there's even a real good answer here. –  Kris May 8 '13 at 5:20

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The words you are looking for exist in English, but they have been abandoned and are only found in old texts.

1535, Coverdale, Bible, Genesis 31:2
And Iacob behelde Labans countenaunce,   And Jacob beheld Laban’s countenance,
& beholde, it was not towarde him as     and behold, it was not toward him as
yesterday and ereyesterday.              yesterday and ereyesterday.¹

1535, Myles Coverdale, The Byble, that is, the Holy Scrypture of the Olde and New Teſtament, faythfully tranſlated into Englyſhe, Tobit 8:4, page D.iiij
Thē ſpake Tobias unto the virgin, and    Then spake Tobias unto the virgin, and
ſayde: Up Sara, let us make oure         said: Up Sarah, let us make our
prayer unto God to daye, tomorow, and    prayer unto God today, tomorrow, and
ouermorow: for theſe thre nightes wil    overmorrow: for these three nights will
we reconcyle oure ſelues with God: and   we reconcile ourselves with God: and
whan the thirde holy night is paſt, we   when the third holy night is passed, we
ſhall ioyne together in ye deutye of     shall join together in the duty of
mariage.                                 marriage.²

Note how closely these words are related to the German you ask about, because these languages have a common ancestor. Consider these sister terms:

  • over- and über- “from Proto-Germanic *uberi³
  • yester- and gestern “from Proto-Germanic *gestra-”
  • morrow and morgen “from Proto-Germanic *murgana- ‘morning’”
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From the past to the future:

   -2 days                         -1 day               +1 day                +2 days  
   ereyesterday or nudiustertian   yesterday    today   tomorrow (or morrow)  overmorrow

The fact that they are not all in current usage does not mean they will not revamp sooner or later.

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English doesn't have any equivalent to "vorgestern" or "übermorgen." "The day before yesterday," "the year after next," etc., are perfectly good expressions.

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"doesn't have" is technically correct :) -- hopefully, you did not mean "never had." –  Kris May 8 '13 at 5:19

Penultimate means last but one, but is used more in the context of a finite number of things, eg on the penultimate page (of a book with a finite number of pages).

You wouldn't use it in the sense of the day before yesterday, which is something which would change depending on which day you are using as your reference point. But you could say the penultimate day before the holidays.

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You seem a bit confused. May like to think over again. –  Kris May 8 '13 at 5:18
    
@Kris No, not confused. Which bit didn't you get? –  Mynamite May 8 '13 at 22:07

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