hysteron proteron
Definition - A figure of speech in which the last becomes first.
Note: The goal is to focus attention on the more important idea by saying it first.

Example -
I like the island Manhattan. Smoke on your pipe and put that in.
(From the song America in the play West Side Story; lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

Etymology -
In Greek it literally means "the latter (put as) the former" (from the Greek hysteros, latter or second + proteron, former).

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1565:
"In these woordes, ‘Take ye: Eate ye: This is my Bodie’, They have founde a Figure called Hysteron Proteron."
(Jewel Repl. Harding 476 )



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