[FOM] Prenex

Sara L. Uckelman suckelma at illc.uva.nl
Fri Nov 23 14:35:57 EST 2007

Thomas Forster wrote:
> Can anyone tell me the origin of this word?  It's obviously an
> acronym of some kind, and I am getting tired of accompanying my
> explanations to students of the Prenex Normal form theorem with
> apologies for my ignorance, so i would like to know.

According to the Oxford English dictionary s.v. prenex, the word is

"[< post-classical Latin praenexus tied or bound up in front (3rd or 4th 
cent.), past participle of praenectere (though only recorded in past 
participle) < classical Latin prae- PRE- prefix + nectere to bind, 
connect (see NEXUS n.).]"

The first citation the OED has is from 1939:

"Thus, we get a first order formula which (or the equivalent prenex 
formula) we denote by B." (Jrnl. Symbolic Logic vol. 4 no. 6).


Sara L. Uckelman
Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation
Universiteit van Amsterdam


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