I've looked on Wikipedia, done some searching, and still I am unable to figure out what the difference is between the two.

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    The question has to appear somewhere in the body, it's not enough to mention it in the title.
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 5:39
  • How do the dictionaries define the two terms?
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 5:41

1 Answer 1


Aorist is a tense of the Greek language, more or less the simple past when it is in the indicative mood, yet noted in that and other moods for its “aspect” as indicating action in a single moment in time. “Frequent[at]ive“ as a specifically contrastive term would seem to indicate the opposite in terms of aspect, referring to what repeatedly or habitually happens, associated with the present, future, and imperfect tenses in Greek.

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    The aorist is most commonly associated with Greek, but it is not limited to Greek: many other Indo-European languages (and the reconstruction Proto-Indo-European language itself), as well as some others, have it. The frequentative is also found in various languages: Greek had a -sk- suffix used both for inchoative presents and frequentative pasts; Finnish has about a dozen different frequentative suffixes, most commonly -(sk)ell-. Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 0:34
  • In languages with a preterite–imperfect distinction, the second can be used for habitual actions in the past, just as we in English would use a modal to say “For years I would walk down to the corner café at dawn for my first coffee of the day.”
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 1:11
  • Heard of the aorist frequentative?
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 5:49

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