There's a heated thread currently brewing over on MSE:
How can an older question be marked as a duplicate of a newer one?
In that thread, I made the argument that the culture and mechanics of StackExchange certainly make [the situation described above] possible.
In response, the OP raised a linguistic question:
Really, so you think that a question asked years before hand can be a dup? You obviously do not know what duplicate means, I suggest buying a dictionary.
Now, my question is, leaving aside StackExchange specific details, can a duplicate antedate the thing that it is a copy of?
Merriam-Webster defines duplicate thus:
1: consisting of or existing in two corresponding or identical parts or examples
- duplicate invoices
2: being the same as another
- duplicate copies.
Which does seem to suggest, especially sense 2, that duplicate simply means copy, and and if you have two identical objects, each qualifies as a legitimate duplicate of the other. No sense of chronological preference is mentioned, nor priority of "the original".
So, in general English usage and pragmatics, can a duplicate antedate its twin? Are there any useful quotes or corpora analyses which can establish usage one way or another?
NB: This is an question of English and its answers or resolutions have absolutely no bearing on StackExchange, its protocols, or its proper use. Deciding those things is what MSE is for, not ELU. Do not argue about or even bring up StackExchange rules here, in answers or in comments. Mods: please delete any MSE content on sight.