avant la lettre
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avant la lettre
- (idiomatic) Before the term was coined. The term being a word or phrase used just previously in an anachronistic way.
- Suffragettes were feminists avant la lettre. (the word "feminist" did not exist during their era)
- 1998, Dominik Declercq, Writing Against the State: Political Rhetorics in Third and Fourth Century China, page 341:
- as St Francis of Assisi was recently discovered to be an ecologist avant la lettre
- 2007, Joan DeJean, The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour, page 107:
- a work with a title that is a marketing dream, pure Julia Child well avant la lettre: Le Cuisinier français, The French Chef.
- 2010, Stefano Evangelista, The Reception of Oscar Wilde in Europe, page 65:
- One might even advance the case for Wilde's being a celebrity avant la lettre, famous partly for being famous
- 2015 February 27, Laura Kipnis, “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe”, in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
- You have to feel a little sorry these days for professors married to their former students. They used to be respectable citizens—leaders in their fields, department chairs, maybe even a dean or two—and now they’re abusers of power avant la lettre.
From a caption added to an engraving to describe the drawing.
- (literally, engraving) before lettering, before letters; proof engraving, proof before letters
- (figuratively) avant la lettre (before the term was coined)
- C'était un écologiste avant la lettre.
- She was an environmentalist before the term existed.