What Does 'Putting The Cart Before The Horse Mean'?


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Swarda Padwal Profile
Swarda Padwal answered
Putting the cart before a horse literally denotes reversal. Thus, the phrase 'to put the cart before a horse' means 'to reverse the accepted way of doing things'. This phrase is more literary. It has its origin in 1589 and is found in George Puttenham's work- the arte of English Poesie. In Greek, Histeron proteron is the term used for the phrase 'to put a cart before a horse'. This is a figure of a speech. In this, the thing that should be placed second is placed first.

There are other phrases that mean the same thing as this phrase. For example: putting on one's shoes and socks. This is applied for a literary effect. Other phrase could be –the cart drawing the ox. This also implies reversal of order. Yet another phrase is – the hind hunts the dogs.

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