Edit: answered in comment from Dan - anticipated is what I was after.

Reading a recent paper in the mathematics field, the result seemed familiar, and indeed, I found in a paper I had from 25 years prior with pretty much the same result.

I thought "this presaged / predated / foreshadowed ... that.", but I'm sure there's a much more precise word for the context that eludes me (as in, I'm sure I've seen the desired word in that context used before).

I've been scouring thesauri with no joy, any ideas?

  • It would help if I knew what "this" and "that" referred to. Does "this" mean reading an already-proved result, and does "that" refer to the feeling you got that you'd see the result before?
    – deadrat
    Sep 20, 2015 at 0:29
  • 3
    Academics prefer the term anticipated in this context.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 20, 2015 at 0:48
  • @DanBron Yes! Oh, when the neurons conspire to frustrate... post as answer if you'd like, will happily accept.
    – rasher
    Sep 20, 2015 at 2:10
  • I would, but at a quick look, I can't find a dictionary to cite for this sense. I'm sure I've seen a Devil's-dictionary style humorous glossary of academic terms which defines it something like "invented before me", but I can't seem to find that now.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 20, 2015 at 2:16
  • 2
    @Dan Bron check oxforddictionaries.com, one of the examples they provide is "Bolzano's theories of mathematical infinity anticipated Georg Cantor's theory of infinite sets."
    – barbecue
    Sep 20, 2015 at 2:37

1 Answer 1


In academic circles, the preferred term is anticipate.

From ODO (Oxford Dictionaries Online: thanks to @barbecue for the citation):

anticipate: Act as a forerunner or precursor of

  • He anticipated Bates’s theories on mimicry and protective coloration

  • While he professed a disdain for pure theory, Giblin anticipated some elements of the relationship between trade, national income, and employment that informed Keynesian economics.

  • His theory of imperialism anticipated European unification and contradictions associated today with globalization of production and markets.

  • Bolzano's theories of mathematical infinity anticipated Georg Cantor's theory of infinite sets.

This last example sentence appears to match your situation to a tee.

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