Definition of hysteron proteron in US English:

hysteron proteron


  • 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!”.

    • ‘Shakespeare is a master in the use of hysteron proteron.’
    • ‘The reverse chronological order of these actions is an example of hysteron proteron, from the Greek for ‘later/first.’’


Mid 16th century: late Latin, from Greek husteron proteron ‘the latter (put in place of) the former’.


hysteron proteron

/ˌhistərän ˈprädərän/