A figure of speech in which what naturally would come last is put first, for example ‘I die! I faint! I fail!’.
- 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'.
For editors and proofreaders
Line breaks: hys|teron pro|teron
Definition of hysteron proteron in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.