One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Withdrawing in order to improve one's chances of subsequent progress or success; making use of a withdrawal or setback in such a way as to advance further.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Dudley Carleton (1574–1632), diplomat and letter writer. From French reculer pour mieux sauter, lit. ‘to draw back in order to leap better’ from reculer + pour for, in order to + mieux better + sauter to leap.
reculer pour mieux sauter/rəkuːˌleɪ pʊə mjəː səʊˈteɪ//rəˌkuːleɪ pɔː mjəː ˈsəʊteɪ/
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