Avant La Lettre Meaning

(idiomatic) Before the term was coined; used after a term applied anachronistically.

Example:   Suffragettes were feminists avant la lettre. — Suffragettes were feminists before the word "feminist" existed.
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
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.