Share this entry

Share this page

hysteron proteron

Line breaks: hys|teron pro|teron
Pronunciation: /ˌhɪstərɒn ˈprɒtərɒn

Definition of hysteron proteron in English:


A figure of speech in which what naturally would come last is put first, for exampleI 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'.

Definition of hysteron proteron in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day glen
Pronunciation: ɡlɛn
a narrow valley, especially in Scotland or Ireland