What word does your mother always say?


[pos-chuh-muh s, -choo-] /ˈpɒs tʃə məs, -tʃʊ-/
arising, occurring, or continuing after one's death:
a posthumous award for bravery.
published after the death of the author:
a posthumous novel.
born after the death of the father.
Origin of posthumous
1600-10; < Latin postumus last-born, born after the death of the father (in form a superlative of posterus; see posterior); post-classical spelling with h by association with humus ground, earth, as if referring to burial
Related forms
posthumously, adverb
posthumousness, noun
nonposthumous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for posthumous
  • It's because of all this posthumous character assassination that I undertook the task of setting the record straight.
  • Now the trend of posthumous publication is seeping from books to movies.
  • He died before he was able to deliver it, so it was given posthumously by his son.
  • Its companion, like the posthumous pieces, has sometimes been rather harshly judged.
  • The main source for this story is an account he wrote himself, published posthumously.
  • But the rebate of posthumous criticism on this prodigal reward has been heavy.
  • She said she was going to reallocate her posthumous copyrights.
  • This collection of interconnected short stories, originally published in 1950, should boost the writer's posthumous reputation.
  • In memoriam: A posthumous award for this year's notable departures.
  • It's sad to realize that this ingenious novel is a posthumous publication by the author whose prize mysteries transcend the genre.
British Dictionary definitions for posthumous


happening or continuing after one's death
(of a book, etc) published after the author's death
(of a child) born after the father's death
Derived Forms
posthumously, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin postumus the last, but modified as though from Latin post after + humus earth, that is, after the burial
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for posthumous

mid-15c., "born after the death of the originator" (author or father), from Late Latin posthumus, from Latin postumus "last, last-born," superlative of posterus "coming after, subsequent" (see posterior). Altered in Late Latin by association with Latin humare "to bury," suggesting death; the one born after the father's death obviously being the last. An Old English word for this was æfterboren, literally "after-born." Related: Posthumously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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