Definition of hysteron proteron in English:

hysteron proteron

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


  • A figure of speech in which what naturally would come last is put first, for example ‘I die! I faint! I fail!’.
    More 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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a small amount; a little