avant la lettre
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought): (idiomatic) Before the term was coined; used after a term applied anachronistically.
- Suffragettes were feminists avant la lettre. — Suffragettes were feminists before the word "feminist" existed.
- [The events of 1848] were transmuted into a symbol of fraternal multiculturalism avant la lettre.
- (engraving) Before lettering, before letters. "Épreuve, gravure avant la lettre": a print made before the caption is added (proof engraving, proof before letters)
- Cette estampe a fait l'objet de cinq tirages avant la lettre.
- (figuratively) Before the term was coined. Used when using a term anachronistically.
- C'était un écologiste avant la lettre.