Etymology of Post-Mortem, Posthumous and the Post- Prefix

On one hand, post is interpreted as after, however, another connotation is behind, either acting independently or as a prefix, and mortem, is presented in the nominal form of death, which can be seen in the Latin mors, mortis, associated with the verb to die, determined as mori, on the Indo-European root *mer-, for departing. An expression used for multiple scopes is established, like in the practice of an autopsy that dates back to the middle of the 19th century.

On the other hand, posthumous goes back to the Latin as postŭmus, precisely built on post- as a prefix, and the word ŭmus, which is understood as burial. It is tradition to pay tribute to a well-known person publicly or amongst loved ones, however, nowadays it is equally appreciated to pay tribute in life. In turn, there is the Posthumous Pardon, which is granted by the current UK monarchy and in many other legal settings, considering the cultural and legal changes evident in past times, for example in 2013, Elizabeth II granted a pardon to mathematician Alan Turing, who was convicted of having relations with a person of the same gender, and then in 2016 the same criterion was applied to all persons who were accused of this crime that worked in England and Wales until 1967.

The linguistic reach achieved by post or post- is reproduced in words such as postular (in Latin as postulāre), postulate (in Latin as postulātum), posterior (in Latin as posterior, posteriōris), post-war (constructed on the basis of the Latin post-, and bellĭcus from its root bellum that refers to war), postpartum (taken from the Latin post and partus). Also, expressions such as post sales (used in the commercial sector), post hoc (which reads as after this), or the post credit scenes in the film industry.

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