Definition of hysteron proteron in English:

Share this entry

hysteron proteron

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!.
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hys|teron pro|teron

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.