Definition of hysteron proteron in English:

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hysteron proteron

Pronunciation: /ˌhistərän ˈprädərän/


A figure of speech in which what should come last is put first, i.e., an inversion of the natural order, for example “I die! I faint! I fail!.
Example sentences
  • The reverse chronological order of these actions is an example of hysteron proteron, from the Greek for ‘later/first.’
  • Shakespeare is a master in the use of hysteron proteron.


Mid 16th century: late Latin, from Greek husteron proteron 'the latter (put in place of) the former'.

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