Share this entry
hysteron proteron Syllabification: hys·ter·on prot·er·on
Pronunciation: /ˌhistərän ˈprädərän/

Definition of hysteron proteron in English:


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'.

Definition of hysteron proteron in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources