To put the cart before the horse

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • To put the cart before the horse to invert the order of related facts or ideas, as by putting an effect for a cause; to do things in an improper order.
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Usage

In literature:

You and I are inclined to put the cart before the horse, and to forget that it is the man that is elemental, not the book.
"Under the Deodars" by Rudyard Kipling
That is to put the cart before the horse.
"Literary Taste: How to Form It" by Arnold Bennett
That is to put the cart before the horse.
"The Concept of Nature" by Alfred North Whitehead
The 'Knights of Labour' in our America of to-day put the cart before the horse when they undertake to make labourers knights.
"France and the Republic" by William Henry Hurlbert
Many of us are trying to put the cart before the horse in that fashion.
"Expositions of Holy Scripture" by Alexander Maclaren
To ask first and woo afterwards seemed putting the cart before the horse.
"The Rough Road" by William John Locke
We cannot, however, except to our detriment, put the cart before the horse.
"The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit" by Ralph Waldo Trine
I'm nervously inclined to put the cart before the horse.
"The Lightning Conductor Discovers America" by C. N. (Charles Norris) Williamson and A. M. (Alice Muriel) Williamson
Ten to one, the woman puts the cart before the horse.
"The Side Of The Angels" by Basil King
Commend us to a democracy to put the cart before the horse every time!
"The Scrap Book. Volume 1, No. 2" by Various
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In news:

The recently-organized authority in charge of developing Allentown's hockey arena and surrounding properties seems to have put the cart before the horse.
It's "Slow Your Roll Monday" on the MobTown Sports Beat, where we try to lend a bit of perspective to those who may feel compelled to put their carts before their proverbial horses.
In their zeal for hyper-efficiency, emaciated inventories and precisely calibrated markdown schedules, retailers increasingly seem to be putting the cart before the horse — perhaps to a dangerous extent.
When it comes to location, location, location, embarking on site selection before optimizing the market is akin to putting the cart before the horse.
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In science:

The common approach seems to “put the cart before the horse” by encompassing a priori assumptions, whereas the fundamental theoretic approach starts from elemental principles, and does not.
Vacuum Fluctuations Cannot Mimic a Cosmological Constant
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