I'm interested in "predicated of", but which the ODO below doesn't explicitly define:

predicate = [with object] 1. {Grammar & Logic} state, affirm, or assert (something) about the subject of a sentence or an argument of a proposition

What are the similarities and differences between 'predicated of', 'predicated as' , and 'predicated + {some other preposition}? Google Ngram depicts a difference, but not Google Books as linked?

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    A predicates P of X; P is predicated by A of X. A is a human agent, P is a predicate; X is the argument of P; this is equivalent to Say(A, P(X)). Note that the verb predicate is pronounced to rhyme with Kate, while the noun predicate has an unstressed final syllable and therefore rhymes with cut. As would be very strange. Mar 20, 2014 at 17:30
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    I read some of his links, and as you say they all have their own meanings. Examples using "as" tended to mean "predicated such that...". I suppose you could use just about any preposition depending on what meaning you wanted to convey. In the everyday world I'm used to hearing "predicated on".
    – Stew
    Mar 20, 2014 at 18:03
  • merriam-webster.com/dictionary/predicate
    – Stew
    Mar 20, 2014 at 18:03
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    By the way, you can now search NGrams with a wildcard to show the most common words after "predicated".
    – MrHen
    Apr 17, 2014 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


A predicate is always related to the subject of the clause or sentence of which it is a part.

Take these examples, for instance:

Birds fly - 'Birds' is the subject; 'fly' is a simple predicate.

Birds fly south in winter - 'Birds' is the subject'; 'fly south in winter' is a complex predicate.

In both cases, the action of flying is predicated of (tells you something about) the birds.

You could say the action of the birds is predicated as 'flying', but what would you say 'flying' was predicated as? It wouldn't make sense to say 'flying is predicated as the birds' - it's meaningless. Both uses given in your linked examples above related to the grammatical distinction between subject and predicate, which is, in turn, a distinction between substance and attributes, which form the basic distinction of Aristotle's Categories of Being.

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