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avant la lettre

 
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rontet



Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:43 pm    Post subject: avant la lettre Reply with quote

Can anyone please tell me what the French expression "avant la lettre" means in English? That is, as an idiom, not just literally "before the letter".

Thank you
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Robert



Joined: 28 Dec 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Poitiers, France

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The French phrase "avant la lettre" means "before the term (or phrase) existed"

For example:
"She is driven by these sharp emotional changes because as an artist she is dealing with the subject before it was defined,
the medium before it existed. In this sense, she is an artist of things avant la lettre."

And a translation of the booktitle:
"Votiefgeschenken: epidemiologie avant la lettre"
"Votive offerings: epidemiology before the term existed"

See also:
"avant la lettre [F] foreign term : before the letter: before a
(specified) name existed" http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/French/Vocabulary/French-International.html

source: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=358665
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