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A.Word.A.Day--hysteron proteron

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hysteron proteron (HIS-tuh-ron PROT-uh-ron) noun

1. A figure of speech in which the natural or rational order of its terms is reversed, as in bred and born instead of born and bred.

2. The logical fallacy of assuming as true and using as a premise a proposition that is yet to be proved.

[Late Latin, from Greek husteron proteron, latter first : husteron, neuter sing. of husteros, latter, later + proteron, neuter sing. of proteros, former.]

"Intriguingly linked with this imprecision is the hysteron proteron of line 6, whose uncertain sequence of bearing arms, and then learning their use opens more space between the two acts than it closes." Bruce Danner, Courteous virtu in Spenser's Book 6 of 'The Faerie Queene.' Studies in English Literature, Winter 1998.

This week's theme: words from the world of literature.


Westheimer's Discovery: A couple of months in the laboratory can save a couple of hours in the library. -Frank H. Westheimer, chemistry professor (1912- )


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