I came upon the word postchoice in the following sentence of Time magazine’s (May 28) article titled “The optimism bias,” dealing with the benefits of positive thinking:

According to social psychologist Leon Festinger, we re-evaluate the options postchoice to reduce the tension that arises from making a difficult decision between equally desirable options.

I could easily imagine that postchoice is a noun meaning the choice made after something, but I was puzzled why it is post-positioned to “options” instead of saying “post-chosen options.”

Furthermore, none of Cambridge, Oxford, Merriam-Webster online dictionaries registers the word postchoice.

Google Ngram shows incidences of “postchoice.” It emerged around 1950 and the usage dramatically declined to an almost insignificant level after 1970. Instead “post choice” seems to be replacing “postchoice” after aound 1980.

Now questions:

1.Is the word “postchoice” still current, because I don’t see it in any of major dictionaries.

2.Is “postchoice” used as a postposition to “options,” or an objective complement in the above quote? Are these usages right?

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    I have an impression that you misunderstand the meaning of the word. "postchoice" applies to the activity of re-evaluation here. If you want to avoid neologisms and be completely clear, you'd say "we choose options, and then we re-evaluate them." It's not post-chosen options, it's re-evaluation (of previously chosen options) performed after choice.
    – SF.
    Jul 5, 2012 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Personally I think postchoice is relatively new "jargon", so yes - it's still "current" (so much so that it's still up for grabs whether to hyphenate it or not).

It's normally used in technical/academic contexts - most commonly, in respect of how, in decision-making, we evaluate relevant factors differently pre- and post-choice (things favouring the decision we actually made are often rated more highly afterwards, thus justifying our choice).

With issues of postchoice satisfaction (which concern marketing people just as much as therapists and psychologists) the word is used as an adjective, modifying the noun "satisfaction".

I don't understand OP's “postchoice” used as a postposition to “options”. In his quoted example, the word postchoice adverbially modifies the verb [phrase] "re-evaluate [the options]".

  • I was wondering whether “postchoice” modifies the antecedent, “options,” or complements “re-evaluate.” What you explained to me – It was adverbial modifier of the verb, re-evaluate, - seems to come upon my latter interpretation, a complement of “re-evaluate.” Jul 3, 2012 at 2:46
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    @Yoichi Oishi: I'm not familiar with your "subjective complement" terminology. I don't even really care for adverbs either. To me they're all just adjectives, for most purposes. Jul 3, 2012 at 3:30
  • I think I can agree with your view that ‘postchoice’ functions as an adjective (or predicate) in the quoted sentence. Function-wise most likely it's true, but “on the look” of “postchoice,” I feel a bit uneasy to define ‘postchoice’ as the adjective, unless we transform it into “POSTCHOISIVE!” Jul 3, 2012 at 11:14
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    @Yoichi Oishi: I don't see anything unusual in the mechanics of word-formation. It's the same as "post-war" (again, hyphenation still currently optional). Or "afternoon", come to that, except that so far as I know "postchoice" isn't [yet?!] used as a noun. Jul 3, 2012 at 11:46
  • Given the examples of the use of adjective, ‘postwar’ and ‘afternoon,’ I got it. I was biased with the apparent noun-like look of “postchoice.” Always ‘valuable’ input. Jul 4, 2012 at 1:56

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