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I suddenly find myself trying to describe a date that's an exact number of years before a scheduled event and I can't think of a better word to describe it than "pre-anniversary" or maybe even "preanniversary". Both seem rather ugly and open to misinterpretation, for example I can see how they might be interpreted as meaning some arbitrary period or point in time before a specific anniversary date.

So how might I be more specific?

Example: something is known to be going to happen on, say, 20-May-2024. I'm looking for a word to describe 20-May-2023, being exactly one year before (the "minus-oneth" anniversary). Or other 20th Mays even further back.

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Dunno. Something beginning with 'anticipatory', perhaps. –  Barrie England Dec 13 '11 at 12:08
    
A few years ago, my then-fiancée and I went away for a "minus-six-months" anniversary weekend. Not sure about the terminology, but we decided that it sounded good enough to warrant a mini-break! –  Paul Spangle Dec 13 '11 at 14:16
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if you want a coinage, how about penanniversary? –  JeffSahol Dec 13 '11 at 20:40
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2 Answers

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Interesting question! I don't think a single English word exists for this, at least not one that would be readily understood without explanation. If you want one, you'll have to make it up yourself, and be prepared to explain it. Antiversary, for instance, seems cute and compact, but is readily misinterpretable (a friend suggested to me the other day that an antiversary means one year after a couple breaks up).

But if you're willing to use more than one word, negative-first anniversary seems readily understandable; if I'm going to get married a year from now, it's my negative-first anniversary. Googling "negative one anniversary", "negative anniversary" and so on turns up plenty of hits, suggesting that this is a natural, intuitive way to describe the concept.

More colloquially, I often hear people using T-minus terminology - deriving from the countdowns we've all seen in movies, where rocket scientists say something like "T-minus 5 minutes" to mark the time until launch - when describing an anticipated event. So, for instance, a party that's held 1 year before your college graduation could be your "T-minus 1 year grad party."

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Ah! "Anteversary" might work, and Google has 181 hits. I don't know that I want to use it to communicate with my German colleague, but I expect it'll come in handy! –  Mike Woodhouse Dec 16 '11 at 11:36
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This is NOT a single word answer and NOT even a legitimate answer. I somehow notice that an anniversary is a specific day, so I might want to relate anniversary to day in some way.

For example, if 20-May-2024 is the coming anniversary, we could say last anniversary is 20-May-2023 while the anniversary before last is 20-May-2022. What's more, any other 20th Mays further back could be referred to as the other anniversary.

As we know, there is yesterday, the day before yesterday, and the other day for day.

Hope this inspires you a bit.

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