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!”.
- 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
Syllabification: hys·ter·on prot·er·on
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.