don't set the cart before the horse

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don't set the cart before the horse

proverb Don't do things preemptively or out of the proper order; don't get ahead of yourself. Don't set the cart before the horse and pick out your dream car before you have any money saved up for a down payment. A: "I've got a few ideas of in-app purchases we can implement." B: "Whoa, whoa, don't set the cart before the horse. Let's focus on actually finishing the app first."
See also: before, cart, horse, set
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cart before the horse, don't put/set the

Don’t reverse the natural order of things. This expression no doubt dates from the time when horses first were used to draw wheeled vehicles, and began to be transferred to other affairs almost immediately. Cicero accused Homer of doing so, complaining that the Greek poet stated the moral of a story before telling the story. From the 1500s on, numerous English writers—Sir Thomas More, William Shakespeare, Charles Kingsley, to mention just a few—used this turn of phrase, which also appears in Greek, Latin, French, German, and Italian. In English it was a cliché by the 1700s.
See also: before, cart, put, set
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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